'I'm on my own, and everyone knows I'm a favourite' - Fred Wright aims for glory at British National Championships

The Bahrain Victorious rider will take to the start line of both the TT and the road race as a favourite

Fred Wright of Bahrain-Victorious, in a red skinsuit, time trials
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Away from Jonas Vingegaard's domination at the Critérium du Dauphiné earlier this month, there was one result which might have gone unnoticed: Fred Wright's fourth place in the punchy stage four time trial, just 34 seconds behind Mikkel Bjerg in first, mixing it with some of the best time triallists in the world.

It is this form, plus the fact that two-time winner - and Wright's former housemate - Ethan Hayter is missing through injury, which gives the Bahrain-Victorious rider confidence going into Wednesday's race.

"I think I've got a good shot at winning it, especially with Ethan having crashed and broken his collarbone," Wright explained on Tuesday. "What happened with Ethan did influence my decision to ride the time trial. 

"Obviously, it's good to have a hit out, but the Tour de France is on the forefront of my mind at this point of the season. The road race is going to be tricky, but I'm really looking forward to tomorrow [the time trial] and leaving it all out there."

The elite men's time trial on Wednesday will see the riders complete three circuits around Dalton-on-Tees, along with a circuit around Croft Circuit, totally 41.4km. On Sunday, the men's race finishes and ends in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, with 10 laps of an 18.8km loop meaning 189kmkm in total. However, it is the climbing which is the real draw, with 4,073 verical metres over the course. It's a mini Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Wright feels in form, that much is clear, and enters both the time trial and the road race as a favourite, despite never winning a race as a professional.

"I think my time trial is in a really good place," he said. "I feel really confident in my position and everything. Things like that have improved a lot in the last six months to a year. I was really happy with my Dauphiné TT, so I'm looking forward to it. I just hope the power is there. I'll be extra fresh, because it's pissing it down with rain today."

Threats will likely come from the Huub-Wattshop rider Dan Bigham and Ineos Grenadiers duo of Geraint Thomas and Josh Tarling in the time trial, with the latter junior world champion at the discipline.

Fred Wright in white on stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The road race is something Wright has almost tasted success in before - second in 2021 - and despite the climbing is one he is also confident for.

"Every year that I come close to winning, I think about what could have been if I'd beaten Swifty [Ben Swift] up Michaelgate in 2021, that was really close," Wright said. "It's such a hard race, always, such a difficult one to predict. Everyone rides flat out until there's a strong group up the road, and they fight it out for the win. I've just got to make that strong group and see what happens.

"That's much easier said than done. I'm hopeful. It'll be interesting to see the course though, because it's quite hilly. I'm on my own, which makes it difficult. I'm on my own, and everyone knows I'm one of the favourites.

"With how I'm feeling on the bike, I'd say it suits me. I'm not worried about it. I should be alright, but we will see."

Ineos Grenadiers are sending an eight-man squad including Geraint Thomas to the road race, which might mean overwhelming numbers for Wright to compete against.

"I could very easily knacker myself out," he said. "Ineos have a few guys, and if they keep hitting it, that might be difficult. They all want to win nationals as well... You just have to gamble."

The build-up to the National Championships has been put into perspective by the death of Wright's teammate Gino Mäder at the Tour de Suisse last week. It is not something the 24-year-old wants to talk about publicly, understandably. He just wants to ride.

"I'd be really happy to win, but with everything that has happened, I just really want to race my bike," he said. "You find a new appreciation for it really."

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