Ireland’s champ Dunne, rising star Dunbar solid in Giro opener

Posted on: May 11th, 2019

Eddie Dunbar has put in a solid ride on the opening day of Giro d’Italia 2019; taking 42nd place some 1:14 down.

The Team Ineos rider was competing in his first ever Grand Tour stage and said the adrenaline and crowd had spurred him on.

Conor Dunne of Israel Cycling Academy finished 154th, at 2:25; content to simply complete the stage in the knowledge that three weeks of hard racing lay ahead.

The 8km test in Bologna, finishing up the challenging Madonna di San Luca, would not normally be to Dunne’s liking.

However, the course would have suited climber Dunbar better and he can be content with what was a very solid ride.

His team mate Tao Geoghegan Hart put in a brilliant ride; placing 7th at just 35 seconds.

The British rider showed the kind of legs that could mean he has a general classification challenge in him – at least for the top 10 – though there is a long way to go of course.

For his part, Dunbar can be happy to have come through such a big test and shown he can more than hold his own at this level.

The stage winner and first race leader of the race is, as expected, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visa). He was head and shoulders above even the best of the rest today.

He saw off the challenge of Vuelta champion Simon Yates; the Micthelton-Scott man placing 2nd at 19 seconds.

And in 3rd place came Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at 23 seconds. He was followed Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb); both at 28 seconds in 4th and 5th.

Then came Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe) at 33 seconds followed by Team Ineos’s co-leader for the race Geoghegan Hart.

Roglic, however, looked in brilliant form, as he has done all season. However, with three weeks of racing to come there is a long way to go to defend the jersey.

That means on some of the next few stages, where the finishing terrain means a bunch sprint is not a certainty; a breakaway may get more leeway than expected by the race leader’s team.

Tomorrow’s 205km stage from Bologna to Fucecchio may prove one such stage.

It could be a sprint from a reduced peloton or a number of small climbs in the final third of the race may suit a breakaway.

Either way, it should become clear pretty quickly if Team Ineos will allow its riders attack, as suggested, or if the squad will now get behind Geoghegan Hart.