This time last year, Fred Wright was embarking on his debut Tour de France. He was fairly emotional before the start in Brest, on the cusp of realising the dream all professional cyclists hold.
Since that start 12 months ago, he’s had quite the whirlwind introduction to cycling’s biggest stage. His Bahrain Victorious team was subject to an anti-doping raid late on in the 2021 race, Matej Mohorič responding defiantly with the infamous zipped lips celebration after winning stage 19.
One year on and the issue has reared its head again. Police descended on various Bahrain riders and team staff a week before the Grand Départ in Coepnhagen, and then once the team arrived in Denmark their hotel was searched. The Marseille public prosecutor’s office, who kicked off the investigation, said electronic equipment and medicines were seized. Bahrain-Victorious have repeatedly re-iterated their innocence.
“It’s a tricky one,” Wright told CyclingTips of the difference between the start of his first and second Tours de France. “As a 23-year-old rider I don’t think I should have experienced two police raids in my career but that’s the unfortunate truth of it.”
“It was a surprise but I saw Jack [Haig] already say the Danish police were really friendly, they were doing what they had to do, it didn’t take very long. 30-45 minutes searching around the room and then they were out of our hair.
“In the end it wasn’t that bad,” he continued. “They came in the morning, I went back to sleep, it felt like a bit of a bad dream. It is what it is thanks to the history of the sport that we’re in this position.”
Now that the race has started, Wright says it’s easier for him and his teammates to focus on the racing.
“If they want to go through these raids just to confirm that everyone’s clean then that’s what they’ve got to do. It’s been really nice that the morale has slowly been creeping up in the team because we’re racing our bikes now, we’re doing our job so happy days.”