Eddie Dunbar fights all the way after impressive ride in France

Posted on: June 23rd, 2019
Though today’s final stage came down to a sprint, flyweight climber Eddie Dunbar was still in the mix and ended the day in 11th place on the same time as winner Arnaud Demare

Eddie Dunbar fought all the way for the best possible result at the conclusion of La Route d’Occitanie (2.1) in France today.

The young Irishman was only three seconds off Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale) in 4th place at the start of the final stage.

And when it came down to a sprint for victory from a reduced peloton, Dunbar battled his way to the front and took 11th in the 40-rider gallop.

However, while any gaps opening behind him may have seen him move up the general classification, the group finished tightly packed.

The 154.8km stage 4 from Gers-Astarac Arros en Gascogne to Clermont-Pouyguillès was run over a lumpy circuit.

But while the terrain and the speed trimmed the peloton right back, the presence of Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) in the front group at the finish was proof the course was not hard enough for the climbers.

Team Ineos lead the peloton today in pursuit of the early breakaway
Demare takes his second stage win of the race and his third victory of 2019
Valverde is crowned 2019 overall winner; holding the lead all the way after winning the opening stage from Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar

Demare took the stage victory, his third win of the season and his second of this race after also winning stage 2 on Friday.

In the end Dunbar had to be content with 5th overall, some 45 seconds down on overall winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

The world champion just beat Dunbar for stage victory on the uphill stage 1 finish, with the Irish rider claiming 2nd on the same time.

That result meant Dunbar was 2nd overall and took the young rider classification lead. He defended his overall position on the following stage, won by Demare in a bunch sprint.

On Saturday’s stage 3 Dunbar was once again among the last men standing when the select group came down to just four men.

With him was his Team Ineos team mate Ivan Sosa, Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) and Valverde.

However, when Sosa attacked inside the final two kilometres as the summit finished neared, he pulled clear with Uran.

Dunbar was left with Valverde and the veteran Spanish rider gradually dragged himself across to the two leaders.

Eddie Dunbar lost time and was caught and passed by some of the riders who had been dropped earlier.

He went from 2nd overall to 5th and also lost his young rider classification leader to Sosa, who claimed the stage win.

And when there was no change in the overall today it meant Valverde won the race from Sosa and Uran, with Gallopin 4th and Dunbar in 5th.

The Irish cyclist was also second to Sosa in the young rider classification and Team Ineos took the team prize.