>>> This article originally appeared as a “Watt Works for Me” interview in the August 20, 2020 print edition of weekly cycling. Subscribe online and receive the magazine directly at your home every week. (opens in a new tab)

Do you live near Manchester and share a house with Ethan Hayter and Matt Walls – a good training environment?

It was actually really nice in lockdown, to have other people to train with who could push you. I don’t think there were many riders in this situation, so I was really lucky. For me, the lockdown didn’t seem that bad – compared to some runners who weren’t even allowed out.

Your first return race after lockdown was Strade Bianche (August 1, 2020). How was it?

Honestly I was a little disappointed [to DNF], it’s such a great race. I had a bit of bad luck and then I had nothing in the heat. I was cooked very early, and that was me done for the day. My Garmin registered 42°C, and I had never run in this kind of heat before – being from the UK doesn’t always help!

How did you start cycling?

It was just something my dad recommended for summer vacation, to occupy my time when I was nine or ten. I was quite young, but I immediately loved it.

tell us how

How to be a classics specialist?

You have to be super strong, it goes without saying, but it’s the knowledge of the courses that separates the good from the very good, those who know when to get in front before a key sector, using a bit of road that they have learned over the years. It’s so important.

Favorite session?

During confinement, I did a lot of SAP [sustained aerobic power], which is low work in Zone 3. This is the pace you can do for an extended period of time – a bit uncomfortable but a good “pressure” pace. You can do this in any type of race: just put on a 40-minute section, say, where you ride pretty hard on any type of terrain. It’s not super uncomfortable, so it feels good once you get into it.

And when did you get more serious?

Around the age of 14 or 15, when I was selected for the [British Cycling] Talent team. When all of this started happening, I was like, ‘Wow, I’m pretty good at this. From there I stayed with British Cycling until last year [upon signing for CCC].

Who most influenced your training as a pilot?

Probably older young riders – [in VC Londres] there was always someone I rode with and raced against as a mate, someone to keep trying to be better with. I was never the best guy, and I think that really helped, because I always aspired to be like this person who was a little older than me. And now it’s me and Ethan [Hayter] and Jacob [Vaughan] that inspire the youngest – it’s a continuous cycle. Also, my first coach, Stuart Blunt, was a huge influence. His training was never very specific or super structured – I didn’t have a power meter as a junior – as it was more about riding according to his own feelings, and that’s something I will always keep with me.

Quick Favorites

Recovery day activity?

An afternoon nap.

A sport other than cycling?

Soccer.

Post-race food?

Always craving some gnocchi.

Motivating music or film?

Kanye West is always up to it, and 300 is a good movie to watch on turbo – lots of action.

Quality at a training partner?

Good discussion. Some will say, “Don’t turn around,” but if you’re turning around because you’re not pressing hard enough, that can be a good thing.

Product or training accessory?

I always have my long pump as part of my training bike – simply because it’s so much better than a small hand pump.

Is this how you still prefer to train?

I guess it depends; what about being in the [Bahrain-Victorious] configure now, there are times when you have to do your really specific hours and roll towards certain powers. But when I have a general run to do most of the time I just ride it on feel – and if the watts are a bit higher than usual then that’s fine, and if not it’s not doesn’t matter. It gets on my nerves every time I get frustrated that I don’t have my Garmin – I have to remind myself that all I have to do is ride my bike!

RIDER PROFILE: FRED WRIGHT

Age: 22

Height: 6 feet 1 inch

Weight: 75kg

Lives: Manchester

Races for: Bahrain-Victorious

Best results : 7th – Tour of Flanders (2022)

1st – Stage 4, Tour de l’Avenir (2019)

1st – Madison, UK National Track Champs (2019)

Twitter: @fred_wright0 (opens in a new tab)

Instagram: fred.w (opens in a new tab)

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