Dunbar up to 22nd place overall in Giro d’Italia
Cima claims stage victory but Carapaz looks on course for race success on Sunday
Team Nippo Vini Fantini Faizane’ Italian rider Damiano Cima jubilates as he finishes first in the 18th stage of the 2019 Giro d’Italia in Santa Maria di Sala. Photograph: Luk Benies/AFP/Getty
Dunbar and fellow Irishman Conor Dunne both finished in the main bunch in Santa Maria di Sala, placing 44th and 38th respectively.
Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane) won by a narrow margin ahead of Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe), with the Italian being the sole remaining rider out of of a day-long breakaway of three riders. Ackermann desperately tried to get by before the line but Cima had enough left to hang on.
“There were three of us at the front and I thank my breakaway companions for the good co-operation we had,” he said, referring to Nico Denz (AG2R la Mondiale) and Mirco Maestri (Bardiani CSF), who were caught on the finishing straight.
“I remained as calm as I could in the last kilometres. I never looked back. I waited as much as possible to give it all in the last few hundred metres.”
Dunbar moved up one place in the overall standings, ending the day 22nd overall. He is 37 minutes 20 seconds behind the overall leader Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team), who is looking increasingly likely to win the race on Sunday.
Double Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) is second overall but still needs to make up one minute 54 seconds. Dunbar remains sixth overall in the best young rider standings. The 22-year-old has made a superb debut in his first Grand Tour.
Elsewhere, Sam Bennett showed strong form last Friday when winning six of the uphill intermediate sprints in the Hammer Stavanger event in Norway, blasting clear of the group on each occasion.
The Carrick-on-Suir rider will return to action with his Bora-hansgrohe team in this Sunday’s Rund um Koln in Germany. He is clearly in excellent shape and will be determined to chase what would be his third career victory in the race.
Meanwhile Cycling Ireland has confirmed the names of 16 riders who will compete in the European Games in Minsk, Belarus, next month.
Conor Dunne, Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo), Mark Downey (EvoPro Racing), Robbie McCarthy (Canyon) and Michael O’Loughlin (Team Wiggins) will compete in the men’s road events, while Alice Sharpe (WCC) is the sole Irishwoman in the women’s road events.
Mark Downey, Felix English, JB Murphy, Marc Potts and Fintan Ryan will compete in the men’s track races, while Lydia Boylan, Mia Griffin, Lydia Gurley, Shannon McCurley, Robyn Stewart and Orla Walsh are the selected women.
The track events will be held between June 27th and 30th, clashing with the Irish road race championships in Derry. While the road riders will have sufficient time to return from Belarus, many of those competing in the track would usually have competed in the Irish championships.
Giro d’Italia, Italy, WorldTour
Stage 18, Valdaora / Olang to Santa Maria di Sala: 1, Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane) at 4 hours 56 mins 4 secs ; 2, P. Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) ; 3, S. Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) ; 4, F. Senechal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) ; 5, R. Gibbons (Dimension Data) all same time
Irish: 38, C. Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) ; 44, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) each same time
Intermediate Sprint 1 - Conegliano Km. 159.5: 1, Mirco Maestri (Bardiani CSF) 10 pts; 2, D. Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane) 6 ; 3, N. Denz (AG2R La Mondiale) 3
Intermediate sprint 2, Scorze, km. 205.1: 1, Damiano Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane) 10 pts; 2, N. Denz (AG2R La Mondiale) 6 ; 3, M. Maestri (Bardiani CSF) 3
Irish: 5, C. Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) 1
General classification after stage 18: 1, Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) 79 hours 44 mins 22 secs ; 2, V. Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at 1 min 54 secs ; 3, P. Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) at 2 mins 16 secs ; 4, M. Landa (Movistar Team) at 3 mins 3 secs ; 5, B. Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) at 5 mins 7 secs ; 6, M. Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) at 6 mins 17 secs
Irish: 22, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 37 mins 20 secs ; 135, C. Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) at 4 hours 26 mins 26 secs
Points classification: 1, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 226 pts; 2, A. Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 213 ; 3, D. Cima (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane) 104
Mountains classification: 1, Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 229 pts; 2, R. Carapaz (Movistar Team) 66 ; 3, F. Masnada (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) 57
Young riders classification: 1, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team 7) at 9 hours 50 mins 39 secs ; 2, P. Sivakov (Team Ineos) at 2 mins 4 secs ; 3, H. John Carthy (EF Education First) at 8 mins 34 secs
Irish: 6, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 31 mins 3 secs