Eddie Dunbar rides himself to exhaustion at Amstel Gold

Posted on: April 15th, 2018

Eddie Dunbar Amstel Gold

Eddie Dunbar needs to be supported and helped off his bike by Aqua Blue Sport staff at the end of Amstel Gold. He rode in the breakaway all day; often being the one pushing the pace up front.


Eddie Dunbar needed help off his bike after Amstel Gold


Irish cyclist Eddie Dunbar has put in his first big performance on one of pro cycling’s biggest stages; riding in the breakaway at Amstel Gold today.

The 21-year-old, who competes with Aqua Blue Sport, was making his WorldTour debut in the Dutch monument classic.

Despite his tender years and lack of experience at this level, he had the confidence to get off the front early in the race.

And with eight other riders he would spend the day out front. The breakaway enjoyed a lead of 16 minutes at one point.

As the kilometres ticked down the final hour of Amstel Gold approached, Dunbar looked one of the strongest up front.

Indeed, it was the young Cork man who was riding on the front when the first of his fellow escapees got dropped on the climbs.

Aqua Blue Sport had been active from the gun, clearly keen to show what they can do after missing out on some big race invites of late.

Both Casper Pedersen and Aaron Gate were among the early attackers before the first of 35 climbs was reached.

However, the group they were in was brought back and was countered by several other moves.

And in the attack that eventually stuck were nine riders, including Eddie Dunbar.


Eddie Dunbar Amstel Gold

Valgren wins after playing the finale to perfection and having the legs after 263km and 38 climbs in Limburg.


Bram Tankink (LottoNL-Jumbo) was also there, along with Tsgabu Grmay (Trek-Segafredo), Oscar Riesebeek (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) and Matteo Bono (UAE Team Emirates).

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

The peloton was clearly happy with the composition of the group and as it moved clear the bunch let it go.

The gap very quickly jumped out to seven minutes before reaching 16 minutes.

And it wasn’t until 18km to go that the first riders from the reduced peloton attacked and bridged across to Dunbar’s group.

With just 25km remaining it was Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida) and Roman Kreuziger (Mitchelton-Scott) who made the first proper move from the reduced bunch.

The distance between the breakaway and the bunch, numbering no more than 40 riders, had dipped to 45 seconds just inside 30km to go.

Gasparotto and Kreuziger made their move with just three of the race’s 38 climbs remaining; the Cauberg, Geulhemmerberg and Bemelerberg

Both riders have won Amstel Gold in the past and they made short working of catching what was left of the escape.

They made the junction on the Cauberg, on the early slopes of which Eddie Dunbar had ridden quite hard.

However, immediately the two chasers caught Dunbar and the others the Italian went to the front and did a long hard turn.

Those who had been in the escape all day scrambled to hold the wheels.

And it was Eddie Dunbar who went off the back. He slipped out of that group with 18km remaining and having put in an incredible performance.

The main favourites were now in a select group behind and would catch everybody ahead of them.

And with the racing having split to pieces on the final two climbs, it was Michael Valgren of Astana who made the decisive attack.




Valgren picked his moment perfectly, just as he had done at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February.

Kreuziger went after him and they survived to fight it out; Valgren easily winning the two-up sprint for victory at Amstel Gold 2018.

Despite his earlier exertions, Gasparotto attacked after the two leaders and he held on for 3rd place.

Then came the really big names; all of whom had looked at each other when the Valgren attacked late.

Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) was 4th followed by Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step).

Next was Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) followed by Craddock, who had been in the breakaway with Dunbar. Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Soudal) rounded out the top 10.

In the end Dunbar did not lose much time after he was caught. He finished in 81st place, in a large group some 3:26 down.

Larry Warbasse was Aqua Blue Sport’s highest finisher; in 58th place and in the same group as Dunbar.

The American and his young Irish colleague were the only two riders from the team to finish.

Aside from Eddie Dunbar, Dan Martin was the only other Irish cyclist in the race. He was not among the 96 finishers.

More to follow.