Eddie Dunbar very unlucky on return to racing after bad crash

Posted on: March 27th, 2019
Eddie Dunbar and Dylan van Baarle on the front of the peloton for Team Sky in the closing kilometres of the opening stage at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali .

After five weeks out of racing action Eddie Dunbar was back at it again today, giving a very good account of himself in Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali (2.1) but also suffering bad luck.

The Italian stage race began with a split stage today; a short morning road race and an afternoon TTT.

Dunbar was to the fore on the front during the road race stage before finishing in the peloton in the same time as the winner.

The 22-year-old and team mate Dylan van Baarle were on the front of the bunch for the closing stages of this morning’s 97.8km stage starting and finishing in Gatteo.

It was won in a bunch sprint by Emīls Liepiņš (Wallonie-Bruxelles); Eddie Dunbar at the front until about 4km to go and eventually finishing in 47th place.

The afternoon TTT was 13.3km and was again based around Gatteo. Team Sky and their young Irish charge were unlucky when Dunbar suffered a slipped chain early in the race.

And because it was a short all-out effort on a pan flat course there was no prospect whatever of him getting back onto his team.

The team pressed on with five men instead of six to finish 2nd some 10 seconds behind Mitchelton-Scott. Gazprom-RusVelo was next, another 11 seconds back.

Stage 1a this morning comes down to a sprint won by Emīls Liepiņš in bright yellow on the left.

Results from the two stages mean Robert Stannard of Mitchelton-Scott leads the race, equal on time with four of his team mates.

Then comes the Team Sky riders, filling the next four places. However, as well as losing Dunbar very early in the stage, Michael Golas also lost 40 seconds.

Dunbar eventually finished on his own some 1:59 slower than his team; a set-back but still looking solid in his first outing back after crashing while racing in Portugal last month.

Team Sky directeur Oli Cookson struck an upbeat note despite Eddie Dunbar’s misfortune.

“We’re very happy with the result as we lost Eddie on the second corner as he dropped his chain on a bumpy, cobbled surface,” he said.

“We decided not to wait as on such a short time trial you can lose a lot of time very quickly, so we did it with just five guys.

“So considering that, we were happy to lose just 10 seconds to Mitchelton-Scott in the TTT as they had a very strong line-up. 

“We did a recon yesterday where we came in a day early, sorted our order out and worked on how we would cope with one rider less.

“Our main objective for both stages 1a and 1b was to safeguard our GC hopes, and we took the initiative in the morning and controlled the race.

“We have seen in previous years that a break can take a significant amount of time on stage 1a. The stages that are coming will suit our guys.

“And the guys did a splendid (TTT) ride. We were 17 seconds faster than last year, so a good improvement and this puts us in a good place going forwards.”

The race continues under Sunday, with four more road stages to come and plenty of terrain that can suit Eddie Dunbar.