Heroic Eddie Dunbar hits the big time with epic ride in Yorkshire

Posted on: May 5th, 2019
Eddie Dunbar on the final classification podium at the Tour de Yorkshire. His Team Ineos team mate Chris Lawless won overall from Greg van Avermaet

A rising star for many years, Eddie Dunbar put in the ride of his life in an attempt to take the biggest victory of his career at the Tour de Yorkshire.

He just came up short; placing 3rd on the stage and moving up to 3rd overall. But he very nearly won both the stage and the race outright.

Only that his team mate and race leader Chris Lawless got across to him with Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) in the closing kilometres, Dunbar would have won both the stage and 2019 title.

Aside from Dunbar, Chris McGlinchey also rode a fantastic final stage; losing just two minutes despite the race exploding at the end.

The Vitus Pro Cycling man was 34th at 2:04 having been in the breakaway on stage 2; two very strong rides for a man new to this level. Robbie McCarthy (Canyon) was a non finisher today.

But, make no mistake, while Dunbar rode fantastically on this race last year, he truly announced his arrival into the big time today.

He lit up the stage and looked by far the strongest. Had he even had a minimum amount of help from some of the early escapees he caught on his own before dropping them, he very likely would have made it all the way.

He attacked on the final 175km stage today into Leeds and at one point had gained more than enough time to take the overall title.

The 22-year-old Irishman started the day in 9th place; among a group of riders 10 seconds off race leader Chris Lawless, also of Team Ineos.

As the race flew up the short sharp climb at Otley with about 20km to go three men from the early breakaway were still just about clear.

Van Avermaet sprints in to win the stage from Lawless and Dunbar
Lawless celebrates his overall win just after the stage end in a packed Leeds

Chris Froome attacked off the front of what was left of the peloton and pulled a group of about 10 riders clear.

And as Froome eased off after a prolonged effort, Dunbar pulled the trigger. And his attack was absolutely huge.

He immediately pulled well clear of the group he had been in and very quickly caught those ahead.

As Dunbar pressed on very hard, with the riders he was with sitting on him, there was a regrouping behind.

One of those who got back to the select group that formed was race leader, and Dunbar’s team mate, Chris Lawless.

And that put Team Ineos in a perfect position. If Dunbar was caught, Lawless would probably win overall. And if not, then the Irish rider would win overall.

It was a tough course over the Yorkshire moors and Dunbar excelled
Eddie Dunbar and Team Ineos were either on the front or not far from it all day

At the front of the large select group, it was CCC Team who led the chase after Dunbar as he dropped those three early escapees he was with.

The CCC Team effort began to reduce the 30-second gap that Dunbar enjoyed, but the young Irish cyclist still looked so strong leading the race solo.

With just over 5km to go, Van Avermaet attacked the select group and blasted across to Dunbar with race leader Lawless on his wheel.

Van Avermaet and Lawless caught Dunbar, making for a three-man lead group being chased down by the select group.

The tactics then changed up front because once Lawless finished 2nd on the stage he was guaranteed overall victory.

And so having been given his chance to possibly win the stage and the overall, Dunbar went on the front of the leading trio to work for his team mate Lawless.

They were being chased down by a four-rider group that included yesterday’s stage winner Alexander Kamp, who was equal on time with Lawless.

With just under 2km to go, Lawless appeared to tell Van Avermaet if he rode with him and Dunbar he, Van Avermaet, could have the stage and Lawless himself would win the overall.

And that’s exactly what happened; Van Avermaet won the stage, Lawless was 2nd and ran out the overall winner while Dunbar was 3rd on the stage and 3rd overall.


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