Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar claims podium finish at Giro d’Italia
Cork rider claims first podium finish on a Grand Tour event
Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar comes home third behind the Italian duo of Cesare Benedetti and Damiano Caruso on stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia from Cuneo to Pinerolo. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Eddie Dunbar had a superb performance on the first big mountain stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia on Thursday, finishing third into Pinerolo. The young Team Ineos rider crossed the line just behind the more experienced Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida), with Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) and Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck-QuickStep) fourth and fifth.
The result is a notable one for Dunbar, who is just 22 and riding his first Grand Tour. It underlines a talent shown by previous results such as victory in the under-23 Tour of Flanders and third in the recent Tour de Yorkshire.
By finishing over seven minutes clear of the general classification contenders, Dunbar jumped from 49th to 28th overall. He is now 10 minutes 11 seconds behind the new overall leader Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), who was also part of the breakaway. Dunbar also goes from 11th to sixth in the best young rider classification. He is two minutes 38 seconds behind the new leader in that ranking, Hugh Carthy (EF Education First).
Afterwards, however, he made clear that he wanted more from the stage. “I’m a bit disappointed, really. I felt like I was one of the strongest there,” he said at the finish. “I knew I wasn’t the quickest but I was certainly one of the strongest. I just gambled at the finish. I had (Gianluca) Brambilla and Eros (Capecchi) there and I knew that them being Italian they’d be a bit more keen than me to get to the finish. So I gambled a bit (in sitting on them) and then got caught by the two guys behind but that’s bike racing, I guess. You live and learn.”
Dunbar and the others had been part of the day’s big breakaway, which was sparked off when the Irishman and Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal) attacked inside the first 10 kilometres. They were joined by over 20 others, including Irish national road race champion Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy).
Dunbar was then one of the strongest on the biggest climb thus far in the Giro, the category 1 Montoso, and pushed clear with three others over the top. After a small regrouping, he was again strong on a short, steep climb three kilometres from the finish.
Dunbar went over the top third there, chasing Brambilla and Capecchi. He appeared to be caught out by starting too far back, but caught them on the descent. “I didn’t feel super and I was worried about what gear I was going to pick,” he explained. “I thought if I started at the back I could see who is strong. Normally guys, when they are feeling it on a climb like that, they ease back quickly. So I waited and took in who was strong. I thought if I can get to the top two there is a chance. I did that but I just came up a bit short.”
Benedetti and Caruso caught the trio just before the line, with both of those finishing ahead of Dunbar. “At the end it was literally who could push the biggest gear,” he said. “The other guys probably have that experience on me and that extra bit of endurance, but for sure it’s a start for me.”
Dunbar’s Team Ineos squad had told the Irish Times that the Corkman had been deliberately keeping his powder dry earlier in the race in order to be as strong as possible in the mountainous second half of the Giro. Confidence boosted by his showing on Thursday, he will hope to perform strongly again on Friday’s summit finish to Ceresole Reale, and in the remaining stages. Dunne will also be encouraged by his 20th place on Thursday’s stage, and is almost certain to go on the attack again.
Giro d’Italia, Italy (WorldTour)
Stage 12, Cuneo to Pinerolo: 1, Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe) 158 kilometres in 3 hours 41 mins 49 secs; 2, D. Caruso (Bahrain-Merida); 3, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) both same time; 4, G. Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) at 2 secs; 5, E. Capecchi (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at 6 secs; 6, J. Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) at 25 secs
Other Irish: 20, Conor Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) 7 mins 36 secs
Points: 1, Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe) 25 pts; 2, D. Caruso (Bahrain-Merida) 22; 3, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) 12
Other Irish: 11, C. Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) 5
Category 1 climb at Pinerolo, km. 125.9: 1, Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) 40 pts; 2, D. Caruso (Bahrain-Merida) 18; 3, E. Capecchi (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 12
Irish: 4, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) 9
Intermediate sprint at Paesana, km. 60.8: 1, Jan Bakelants (Team Sunweb) 10 pts; 2, T. De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 6; 3, T. Ludvigsson (Groupama-FDJ) 3
Irish: 4, C. Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) 2
General classification after stage 12: 1, Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) 48 hours 49 mins 40 secs; 2, P. Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) at 4 mins 7 secs; 3, V. Conti (UAE Team Emirates) at 4 mins 51 secs; 4, E. Capecchi (Deceuninck-QuickStep) at 5 mins 2 secs; 5, V. Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) at 5 mins 51 secs; 6, B. Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) at 6 mins 2 secs
Irish: 28, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 10 mins 11 secs; 71, C. Dunne (Israel Cycling Academy) at 1 hour 22 mins 34 secs
Points classification: 1, Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 194 pts; 2, P. Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) 183; 3, R. Carapaz (Movistar Team) 50
Mountains classification: 1, Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) 40 pts; 2, G. Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) 32; 3, P. Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 22
Irish: 9, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) 9
Young riders classification: 1, Hugh John Carthy (EF Education First) 48 hours 57 mins 13 secs; 2, M. Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) at 35 secs; 3, P. Sivakov (Team Ineos) at 45 secs
Irish: 6, E. Dunbar (Team Ineos) at 2 mins 38 secs