Tuesday 25 June 2019

Dunbar claims podium finish on first Grand Tour as Giro hits mountains

Eddie Dunbar. Picture credit: Stephen McMahon / SPORTSFILE
Eddie Dunbar. Picture credit: Stephen McMahon / SPORTSFILE

Eddie Dunbar secured a podium place on the first day in the mountains at the Giro d'Italia after the young Cork rider was beaten on the line by Italians Cesare Benedetti and Damiano Caruso at the end of yesterday's Stage 12.

The in-form Dunbar, who is riding his first Grand Tour, was part of a five-rider group to reach the finish line in Pinerolo together, the last survivors of a 25-strong group who had gone up the road almost as soon as they left the start in Cuneo 158 kilometres earlier.

After the breakaway group - which also featured Irish champion Conor Dunne - splintered on the imposing climb of the Montoso late in the stage, eight riders regrouped on the descent before one final test in Pinerolo.

Dunbar closed on Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) and Eros Capecchi (Deceunick-Quick-Step) up the steep, cobbled climb towards the finish but the three riders then began to look at each other, allowing home favourite Benedetti of Bora Hansgrohe and Bahrain-Merida's Caruso to sweep by.

Dunbar, who was thrust into the Team Ineos line-up at late notice when Egan Bernal broke his collarbone in training, was disappointed with third and blamed a lack of experience.

"I felt like I was one of the strongest here," the 22-year-old said. "I knew I wasn't the quickest but certainly one of the strongest. I gambled in the finish.

"With Brambilla and Eros being Italian I knew they'd be a bit more keen than me to get to the finish so I gambled on that and got caught by the guys behind. That's bike racing, you live and learn.

"In the end it was who could push the biggest gear. The other guys probably have that experience on me and extra bit of endurance, but it's a start for me."

Dunbar has jumped from 49th to 28th overall and is 10 minutes 11 seconds behind the new overall leader Jan Polanc, who took over the pink jersey from his UAE Emirates team-mate Valerio Conti.

Dunne crossed the line in 20th place over seven minutes after the winner with the overall contenders 30 seconds behind him.

Mitchelton-Scott's Simon Yates sits 13th, still three minutes and 46 seconds behind second place and overall favourite Primoz Roglic.

Irish Independent

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