Stickybottle

Eddie Dunbar (21) “honoured” to make Amstel Gold breakaway

Posted on: April 16th, 2018

Eddie Dunbar Amstel Gold Aqua Blue Sport

Eddie Dunbar enjoyed a spectacular start to WorldTour racing at Amstel Gold. Not only did he get into the escape, he pushed the pace and finished the race (Photos: Aqua Blue Sport)

 

Eddie Dunbar said he paid for his Amstel Gold efforts

 

Having excelled in his WorldTour debut at Amstel Gold yesterday, Eddie Dunbar said he was honoured to ride in the breakaway.

The 21-year-old was in the escape for most of the 263km race, which featured 38 climbs.

He was often the one pushing the pace as the lead group slimmed down a little in the latter stages.

“It was a great honor to be in the breakaway today in a race like Amstel in such an amazing field,” he said.

“We rode strongly in the break and got a nice gap early on. Towards the end I tried to race aggressively and make it hard.

“I maybe paid the price for that effort later on in the finale. But it was definitely a very positive and memorable day out.”

US national champion, Larry Warbasse, was the only other finisher for Aqua Blue Sport. He placed 58th in the same group as Dunbar and praised him after the race.

“Today was a good day because we had Eddie in the breakaway,” said Warbasse.

“He was so strong and that was awesome as it ticked off objective number one for the team in this race.

“For me it was all about riding into those climbs in good position. I have to say that I was happy with the sensations.

“And it was a good day for the team with having Eddie up there in the breakaway. I’m now looking forward to Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

While the breakaway pulled out about 16 minutes at one point, the peloton began the chase early.

And it was with about 100km still to race that the pursuit took on more purpose.

 

Eddie Dunbar Amstel Gold Aqua Blue Sport

Eddie Dunbar Amstel Gold Aqua Blue Sport

 

As the race entered into the final 50km Team Sky and Bahrain-Merida really put their shoulders to the wheel.

Dunbar had spent the day out front with Bram Tankink (LottoNL-Jumbo), Tsgabu Grmay (Trek-Segafredo) and Matteo Bono (UAE Team Emirates).

Also there were Lawson Craddock (EF-Drapac), Oscar Riesebeek (Roompot), Marco Tizza (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Willem Smit (Katusha-Alpecin) and Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise).

When the action hit the Cauberg for the final time, Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida) and Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott) caught the breakaway having attacked what little remained of the peloton.

Gasparotto, chasing his third Amstel Gold win, went to the front and rode hard, with Dunbar losing his place up front.

He was caught by the group of favourites behind with 17km remaining; world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) leading the group past the Irish rider.

Sagan and the others would mop up all of those ahead. Michael Valgren (Astana) would attack with 2.5km to go to win.

Of the breakaway men, Craddock faired best taking 9th. Van Hecke was 12th and Bono 17th.

However, despite riding as hard as he did, Dunbar didn’t fold. He got in with a large group and finished in 81st at 3:26.

It was a spectacular debut at this level and one he will have learnt a huge amount from. Not only did he ride in the escape; he looked very strong and, crucially, finished the race.

He now looks good to get a ride in Liège-Bastogne-Liège next weekend.

 

 

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