Eddie Dunbar followed up his strong showing on Friday's second stage of the Tour de La Provence with another glittering display on Saturday, netting fifth on cycling's famous Mont Ventoux. The riders raced to the Chalet Reynard point of the mountain rather than going all the way to the summit, but it was nevertheless a serious test of early-season climbing form.
Past Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España winner Nairo Quintana (Team Arkéa Samsic) was best, the Colombian using his well-known uphill ability to solo to victory. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team), Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) and overall leader Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Pro Team) were next over the line, one minute 28 seconds back, while Dunbar (Team Ineos) led in five chasers two minutes and 11 seconds after Quintana.
Those finishing just behind the Corkman included the more experienced riders Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) and Tour de France stage winner Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).
Dunbar took a fine fifth on the stage, one better than his placing on Friday, and advanced three places in the overall classification. He is now sixth overall, two minutes 21 seconds behind the new race leader Quintana.
His performance also saw him advance two places in the best young rider competition. He is now second overall, one minute 17 seconds behind Friday’s stage two winner Vlasov.
The 2.Pro-ranked event concludes on Sunday with a difficult mountain stage to Aix-en-Provence. Dunbar will hope to further advance up the overall classification, and looks on course to improve on his seventh place overall of last year.
Tour de La Provence (2.Pro)
Stage 3, Istres to Mont Ventoux/Chalet Reynard: 1, Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) 140.2 kilometres in 3 hours 36 mins 26 secs; 2, A. Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) at 1 min 28 secs; 3, H. Carthy (EF Pro Cycling); 4, A. Vlasov (Astana Pro Team) both same time; 5, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 2 mins 11 secs
General classification after stage 3: 1, Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) 11 hours 24 mins 12 secs; 2, A. Vlasov (Astana Pro Team) at 1 min 4 secs; 3, A. Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) at 1 min 28 secs; 4, H. Carthy (EF Pro Cycling) at 1 min 38 secs; 5, W. Kelderman (Team Sunweb) at 2 mins 16 secs
Irish: 6, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 2 mins 21 secs
Points classification: 1, Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Pro Team) 24; 2, A. Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) 22; 3, N. Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) 20
Irish: 5, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) 15
Best young rider: 1, Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Pro Team) 11 hours 25 mins 16 secs; 2, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 1 min 17 secs; 3, D. Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) at 1 min 31 secs