Irish rider Eddie Dunbar signs for Team Sky

The 22-year-old was previously with the now defunct Aqua Blue Sport team in Ireland

Eddie Dunbar has signed for Team Sky. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Eddie Dunbar has signed for Team Sky. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Eddie Dunbar has received a double boost to his career, with Team Sky announcing on Thursday that it will give Dunbar a contract for the 2019 season and also take him on board with immediate effect. Dunbar was left stranded when the Irish professional Aqua Blue Sport team collapsed earlier this month.

He had been due to ride the Tour of Britain, a race which was an important part of his build-up to the upcoming world road race championships, but missed out when the team didn’t compete there.

This year’s world championships in Innsbruck suits Dunbar due to the hilly course. His recent second place on the final stage of the Tour de l’Avenir plus his eighth overall there and in the Tour de Yorkshire has set him up as a contender for the world under 23 title.

Dunbar will begin his time with the British team when he lines out in the Coppa Agostoni on Saturday. He will ride several other Italian events as part of his buildup for the worlds.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity I’m getting after the situation I’ve found myself in,” the 22-year-old said. “Sometimes a team folding is the way the sport goes. I just had to be professional about it and understand the situation. Luckily Sky came along and they offered me a block of Italian races which is good preparation for Innsbruck. It’s all fallen into place for me – and I can’t wait to get started now.”

Important advantages

He added that joining the team now rather than in 2019 will confer important advantages. “This is a great opportunity for me to spend the last few weeks of the season with a team I’ll be riding for next year. It will make the transition a lot easier.

“It’s really helpful to have this opportunity to familiarise myself with everything, especially the riders and the staff.”

Irish road race champion Conor Dunne was also part of Aqua Blue Sport. He was left without a team for next season, and is hoping to land a contract in time.

Meanwhile at the Vuelta a España, Belgian rider Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal) was first to the line in Lleida. He outsprinted breakaway companion Sven Erik Bystrøm (UAE Team Emirates), with world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) launching his sprint early in a bid to haul them back but just coming up short. Nicolas Roche rolled in three minutes and six seconds back.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) continues to lead overall, 25 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Roche is 42nd overall.

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