Dunbar rides aggressively, places 20th in world championships

Swiss rider Marc Hirschi takes the gold medal in the under 23 world road race

 Eddie Dunbar. Photograph: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Eddie Dunbar. Photograph: INPHO/Billy Stickland

 

Eddie Dunbar was one of the most prominent riders in the under 23 world road race championships in Austria on Friday, but nevertheless came up short on his own pre-race goals in finishing 20th.

The Irishman rode a very aggressive race, setting off in pursuit of the two leaders Mark Padun (Ukraine) and Patrick Muller (Switzerland) with 36km to go.

He was joined by Muller’s teammate Gino Mader, who was legitimately able to shy away from putting in equal work as his fellow Swiss rider was ahead. Despite this, Dunbar and Mader were just nine seconds back with 23km remaining, with the chasing group 33 seconds behind. However that was as close as the duo could get; with the gap between Dunbar and the lead growing to 27 seconds with 20km left.

One kilometre later, the chasers reeled in Dunbar and Mader, with Padun and Muller subsequently being caught. Another Swiss rider, Marc Hirschi, was able to clip away closer to the line and took the gold medal, 15 seconds ahead of Bjorg Lambrecht (Belgium) and Jaakko Hanninen (Finland).

Dunbar finished 20th, three minutes 23 seconds back, while Conn McDunphy was 84th. He and Daire Feely, Darragh O’Mahony and Michael O’Loughlin did strong work for Dunbar early on and helped the Corkman ride such an aggressive race.

“I didn’t feel good at all today, which was disappointing because the guys rode so well,” said Dunbar. “We rode to win the race today. I went in with the intention of winning and I would have been happy with nothing else.

“The third time up the climb when they went full [gas], I just realised that if the race comes down to the climb it’s not going to be my day today. I just thought I need to think of a different way of doing what I normally do but in the most effective way, and that was by attacking on the descent.

“I came close to the two guys out front but if there was any other rider than the Swiss rider with me it might have been a slightly different race going on to that final lap. I wouldn’t have had to spend too much energy trying to across to the two up front. We actually would have caught them, I think.

“I think the Irish lads deserve massive credit because they rode superbly today. I’ve never seen any Irish team take control of a race like they did today, in a world championship even, and they deserve a lot of credit for that.”

World road championships, Innsbruck, Austria:

Under 23 men’s road race:

1, Marc Hirschi (Swi) 4 hours 24 mins 5 secs; 2, B Lambrecht (Bel) at 15 secs; 3, J Hanninen (Fin) same time; 4, G Mader (Swi) at 35 secs; 5, M Padun (Ukr) at 37 secs; 6, J Castrillo Zapater (Spa) at 45 secs

Other: 20, E Dunbar (Irl) at 3 mins 23 secs; 84, C McDunphy (Irl) at 21 mins 36 secs

DNF: D Feeley (Irl); D O’Mahony (Irl); M O’Loughlin (Irl)

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