Most mornings when Eddie Dunbar walks into the mixed zone at the Giro d’Italia, somebody invariably suggests that a man from Banteer in County Cork should be revelling in the rain that has so conditioned this race.
His own view is more nuanced. “I tolerate it,” Dunbar told Cyclingnews. “Obviously, I grew up with bad weather, but I don’t want to race in it, nobody does. Anyone who says they do is talking shite, basically.”
Dunbar hasn’t missed a beat on this Giro, and so when his name was missing from the provisional general classification results published immediately after the finish of stage 14 on Saturday, it was clear that something was awry.
At every major rendezvous, most notably the summit finishes at Gran Sasso d’Italia and Cran Montana, the Irishman has been present and correct. And, despite the initial confusion, he was indeed safely aboard the peloton as it ambled towards the finish in a sodden Cassano Magnago at the weekend.
It was, however, a close-run thing. After avoiding the misfortune that had bedevilled so many GC men in this race across the first two weeks, Dunbar’s challenge risked unspooling here due to an untimely puncture. Mercifully, a minor disaster was averted when his Jayco-AlUla teammate Campbell Stewart stopped and handed over his bike.
“With 7k to go, I hit a hole and I got a rear wheel puncture,” Dunbar explained. “It was quick thinking from Campbell, so we were back up and running quickly. There was a delay afterwards with the results because I didn’t have my transponder on the bike and my number wasn’t showing under my rain jacket. I think a few people were worried, but it was all good, thankfully.”
A day later, Dunbar was, as ever, precisely where he needed to be in the finale of a GC day on this Giro, tracking the acceleration from João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) on the short, sharp climb through Bergamo Alta. He finished the race safely alongside Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), et al, and he reached the second rest day of the Giro in eighth overall, 3:40 down on ephemeral maglia rosa Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ).
In the grand scheme of things, Dunbar is where he wanted to be when this race set out from Abruzzo two weeks ago, firmly in the hunt for a high overall finish in Rome. The Giro marked his return to Grand Tour racing after a four-year absence and the first real test of a new phase of his career. After four-and-a-half seasons deployed largely as a…
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