Bahrain-McLaren hand Grand Tour debuts to young Brits as Wout Poels gets team leadership at Vuelta a España

Fred Wright and Stephen Williams will line-up for Rod Ellingworth's team

Bahrain-McLaren will hand two young British riders Grand Tour debuts as well as Wout Poels the team leadership role at the upcoming Vuelta a España.

Fred Wright and Stephen Williams will line-up as two of three Brits for Rod Ellingworth’s team in Spain, with Scott Davies also set to ride his second-ever Grand Tour after competing in the Giro d’Italia last year for Dimension Data.

“For Davies and Williams this will be the first race after a long time, so we’ll see what they will show,” sports director Gorazd Štangelj said. “And Wright is one of the most talented young riders in our team and there will surely be a stage or two where he can show his best.”

21-year-old Wright has impressed in his debut professional season despite the coronavirus disruption, having gained WorldTour stage racing experience at the Tour of Poland and will make his Monument debut at the Tour of Flanders, two days before the start of the Spanish Grand Tour.

>>> Ineos Grenadiers confirm line-up to support Chris Froome at the Vuelta a España

The team will go to the Vuelta with two objectives: aiming for stage wins with Matej Mohorič and giving Wout Poels a tilt at the general classification. That is something the Dutch rider arrived at Bahrain-McLaren to pursue, with chances for personal glory slim at his previous employers Ineos.

“In the race, our key objective will be to give enough support to Wout. And I think that despite all the restrictions and the busy calendar we were able to bring together a strong team to do that,” Štangelj added.

As well as precautions around the coronavirus pandemic, the sports director expects the time of year, a few weeks later than the Spanish Grand Tour’s usual September slot, will play a part.

“Another factor that will have a tremendous effect on the race will be the expected cold, wet, and rainy weather, which is traditional for this part of Spain during this time. But despite all these challenges, we will make the best out of it.”

A number of star riders will line up at the Vuelta a España, including Ineos’ Richard Carapaz and Chris Froome, Jumbo-Visma’s Primož Roglič and Tom Dumoulin, as well as Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).