Eddie Dunbar keeps his hold on second spot at La Route Occitanie

Irish rider comes home in bunch sprint on stage two of French race

Eddie Dunbar maintained his excellent second place overall in La Route Occitanie in France on Friday, finishing 19th in the bunch sprint which decided stage two to Martres-Tolosane.

Frenchman Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) beat Dunbar's team-mate Christopher Lawless (Team Ineos) and the rest of the peloton to the line, with Dunbar finishing in the same time as the winner.

Stage one victor Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) maintains his four second advantage over Dunbar heading into Saturday's toughest stage of the race. Dunbar is both his closest challenger and leads the best young rider classification.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Roche continues to ride strongly in the Tour de Suisse, finishing 13th on the mountain stage to the top of the St Gotthard climb.


Overnight race leader Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) fortified his advantage when he finished 23 seconds ahead of Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) and Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida). Roche was one minute six seconds back.

Bernal is now 41 seconds ahead of Dennis, with Roche improving one place to a fine ninth overall. He is two minutes 23 seconds behind Bernal. The race concludes on Sunday.


Stage 2 (Labruguière to Martres-Tolosane): 1 Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 187.7 kilometres in 4 hours 50 mins 13 secs, 2 C Lawless (Team Ineos), 3 M Hofland (EF Education First), 4 S Modolo (EF Education First), 5 D Gonzalez Lopez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), 6 E Siskevicius (Delko Marseille Provence) all same time. Irish: 19 E Dunbar (Team Ineos) same time.

General Classification after stage 2: 1 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) 9 hours 34 mins 4 secs, 2 E Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 4 secs, 3 É Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic) at 8 secs, 4 T Gallopin (Ag2r La Mondiale) at 12 secs, 5 I Sosa (Team Ineos) both same time, 6 R Urán (EF Education First).

Youth classification: 1 Eddie Dunbar (Team Ineos) 9 hours 34 mins 8 secs, 2 É Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic) at 4 secs, 3 I Sosa (Team Ineos) at 8 secs.

Team classification: 1 Team Ineos 28 hours 43 mins 18 secs, 2 Ag2r La Mondiale at 2 mins 11 secs, 3 Movistar Team, at 2 mins 26 secs.


Stage 7 (Unterterzen to St Gotthard): 1 Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) 216.6 kilometres in 5 hours 37 mins 40 secs, 2 D Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) at 23 secs, 3 R Dennis (Bahrain-Merida), 4 P Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 34 secs, 5 J Hirt (Astana Pro Team), 6 T Benoot (Lotto Soudal) both same time.

Irish: 13 N Roche (Team Sunweb) at 1 min 6 secs

General Classification after stage 7: 1 Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) 24 hours 17 mins 48 secs, 2 R Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) at 41 secs, 3 P Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 1 min 13 secs, 4 D Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) at 1 min 17 secs, 5 J Hirt (Astana Pro Team) at 1 min 19 secs, 6 T Benoot (Lotto Soudal) same time.

Irish: 9 N Roche (Team Sunweb) at 2 mins 23 secs.

Points classification: 1 Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 37 pts, 2 E Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 32, 3 M Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) 22.

Mountains classification: 1 Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) 30 pts, 2 C Imhoff (Switzerland) 25, 3 D Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) 21.


Stage 3 (Ž alec to Idrija): 1 Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) 169.8 kilometres in 3 hours 35 mins 55 secs, 2 G Bole (Bahrain-Merida), 3 A Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), 4 G Visconti (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM), 5 D Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), 6 A Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) all same time.

Irish: 117 C Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) at 14 mins 55 secs.

General Classification after stage 2: 1 Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) 7 hours 40 mins 43 secs, 2 G Bole (Bahrain-Merida) at 4 secs, 3 A Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) at 6 secs, 4 D Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) at 7 secs, 5 B Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) at 10 secs, 6 A Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo)

Irish: 65 C Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) at 16 mins 3 secs

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling