Eddie Dunbar poised for overall victory in prestigious Italian race

Irish cyclist maintains a nine-second lead in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali

Eddie Dunbar of Ireland and Team INEOS Grenadiers White Leader Jersey celebrates at podium with champagne during the 36th Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali 2022 - Stage 4. Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images

Eddie Dunbar is just one stage away from winning the first professional race of his career, maintaining his overall lead in the prestigious Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in Italy on Friday.

Dunbar raced home as part of a 46-man reduced main bunch led home by the Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), who beat Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), Remy Mertz (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB) and the others to the line.

Dunbar rolled in towards the front of the group in 13th place.

He maintains his nine second advantage over the rider in second overall, his Ineos Grenadiers’ teammate Ben Tulett. Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) stays 24 seconds back, putting Dunbar in a very strong position heading into the last day of racing on Saturday.


Asked about his chances of taking the overall classification, he said that it is very hard to predict how things will play out. He used the manner of Van der Poel’s victory to show how unexpected things can happen within the sport. The Dutchman had been clear for much of the day in a breakaway, went clear alone with 11 kilometres remaining, got caught soon afterwards but still had the strength to win the sprint.

“We will see how the race goes,” Dunbar said. “As I said yesterday, no one knows what way racing is these days. If you would have said today that Van Der Poel was in the breakaway, and then gets caught and then still wins the stage, you would say no [to the chances of that]. But we don’t know, you can only decide [things] on the road now.

“You can only predict what is going to happen. A lot of the time now what you think is going to happen never actually happens. So you just have to be ready for all scenarios.”

Dunbar is a gifted rider, as shown by his amateur victory in the under-23 Tour of Flanders in 2017, his third on a stage of the Giro d’Italia two years later and his 12th overall in last year’s Tour de Suisse while working for a teammate.

Asked he has felt the responsibility of becoming the team’s leader in the race, the Corkman shrugged off the pressure. “[It’s] fine. I have always been a relaxed guy. Every race I give 100 per cent. Whether I have to be [team] leader, I will be 100 per cent, or if I’ve to help one of my teammates I will always give 100 per cent.

“This week I have an opportunity to be leader, so I am giving 100 per cent and hopefully that will pay off tomorrow. It is the last day, so hopefully we can hold on.”

The race ends with a hilly 160 kilometre stage from Castalguidi to Cantagrillo. It includes several climbs, including three ascents of the Mungherino near the end. Barring an unexpected development, Dunbar is looking good for the overall win.

He is in the final year of his current contract with Ineos Grenadiers and after years of riding for teammates, is showing at 25 years of age that he has the ability to take some big victories in the sport.

Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali Italy (2.1)

Stage 4 Montecatini to Montecatini: 1 Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 158.7 kilometres in 3 hours 59'49", 2 E Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), 3 R Mertz (Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB), 4 D Smith (BikeExchange-Jayco), 5 M van Dijke (Jumbo-Visma) all same time

Irish: 13 E Dunbar (Ineos Grenadiers) same time

General classification after stage 4: 1 Eddie Dunbar (Ineos Grenadiers) 16 hours 37', 2 B Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers) at 9", 3 M Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) at 24", 4 S Carr (EF Education-EasyPost) at 30", 5 A Tiberi (Trek-Segafredo) at 45"

Points classification: 1 Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) 24, 2 B Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers) 16, 3 E Dunbar (Ineos Grenadiers) 16

Mountains classification: 1 Andrea Garosio (Biesse-Carrera) 42, 2 M Cattaneo (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) 20, 3 E Zardini (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) 18

Irish: 4 E Dunbar (Ineos Grenadiers) 11

Young riders classification: 1 Ben Tulett (Ineos Grenadiers) 16 hours 37'09", 2 M Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) at 15", 3 S Carr (EF Education-EasyPost) at 21"

Teams classification: 1 INEOS Grenadiers 49 hours 53'07", 2 UAE Team Emirates at 32", 3 Drone Hopper - Androni Giocattoli at 6'23"