Eddie Dunbar talks about his whirlwind month, the races ahead

Posted on: October 13th, 2018

Eddie Dunbar ends the season with Team Sky in Asia. And ahead of those races he has talked about his hectic time of late, characterised by change and progress.


Irish rider Eddie Dunbar talks joining Team Sky


Eddie Dunbar has reflected on his first month at Team Sky, saying very few teams would have organised a late season transfer the way his new employer did for him.

The young Irishman said that while riding the Worlds in Innsbruck, anything but winning represented a “failure” to him.

And he was now looking forward to riding the Hammer Series in Hong Kong, tomorrow, and the Tour of Guangxi after that.

When his old team Aqua Blue Sport folded with no notice in August, it looked like Dunbar’s preparations for the Worlds had been dealt a blow.

However, having already agree to ride for Team Sky next year, the squad came in and rescued him.

They acted quickly to ensure he could join the team immediately. And that meant Eddie Dunbar took in four hard one-day races in Italy.

With that help, Dunbar would have had no racing for a month between the Tour de l’Avenir ending at the U23 road race in Innsbruck.

His last race with a trade team would have been on August 1st, at the Tour de Wallonie.

And not only Dunbar get to ride the Italian one-day races with Team Sky, he animated them.

It was his work that pulled the breakaway clear in two of the events, with his team mate Gianni Moscon taking two wins.

And in the hilly Memorial Marco Pantani, Dunbar made the front group and took an excellent 8th place.

“It was a crazy few weeks really with everything that happened,” he said, a clear reference to his old team folding.

“And all of a sudden I was lining up in Italy for one of the best teams in the world. It was a lot to take in in a short space of time.”


Three teams in one year: The now defunct AquaBlue, Ireland and Team Sky.


Eddie Dunbar continued: “I was grateful for the opportunity because it was a nice way to join the team,” he said, adding it was a great way to blend into the team ahead of next season.

“I came out of the Tour de l’Avenir with pretty good form,” he said of a race where he placed 8th overall and 2nd on the final stage.

“And when I found out I wasn’t doing the Tour of Britain the next thing in my calendar was the worlds.

“I had good work done so I kept that up. And luckily enough Sky came in and they were good enough to speed up the process and get everything sorted a lot quicker than I would have expected.

“So going into the Italian races I had good work done, plus the motivation of being in a new team.

“And it was nice to take that opportunity with both hands and do what I was told, and do it well,” he said of helping Moscon so significantly.

When he spoke of the Worlds, there was a sense of frustration and of a lost opportunity. But he said his form was simply not the same as it had been in Italy.

“The third time up the key climb I realised I wasn’t the strongest but I didn’t give up,” he said of the Innsbruck course.

“I realised there were other parts of the course where I could do something. In Italy I’d been going really well and climbing strongly – probably the best I had all year.

“So I just don’t know what was wrong in the race. I ate well, I drank well, the Irish guys kept me well positioned all day but it just wasn’t to be.”


Some people have questioned the way the Irish team rode in Innsbruck but Dunbar said he rode to keep alive the gold medal dream as best he could (Photo: Sean Rowe)


Rather than waiting for the main climb on the final lap, Dunbar attacked before it. He was trying to catch the two leaders at the time.

However, he never made it across and was caught by the chasing group. He then lost his place in that group as the strongest riders in it went on to take the medals.

“The reason I attacked where I did is because I didn’t have the legs on the climb,” he explained matter of fact.

“I went into the race to win it. Anything else was a failure to me. I thought attacking where I did gave me the best possible chance of winning the gold medal with the legs I had.”

His next assignment is the Hammer Series, which involved two races tomorrow in Hong Kong.

But it is the Tour of Guangxi that should suit him better. And with Moscon as team leader and Dunbar working for him, the young Irish rider is hoping for a big few days.

“Gianni showed in the Worlds that he’s held his form well and he’s just won the Italian TT champs as well,” said Dunbar.

“It looks like it will be a nice race and there’s one mountaintop finish that should suit the team.

“If Gianni has the legs he has done over the past few weeks then it should be a good day for us.

“The opportunity I’ve been given to race with Gianni and the rest of the guys is just massive.

“It helps with the motivation when you go into a race with a strong team and you all know what you’re doing. I’m looking forward to it and I’m sure it will be a good few days.

“The whole experience with the team has been very enjoyable. The team is very professional and I learnt so much as a bike rider during those 10 days I spent in Italy.

“Being around the calibre of riders that were there and the staff who were there, it’s all extra motivation going into races to do your best.

“It was a great experience and it made me look forward to what’s to come.”