Eddie Dunbar came close to taking a win on the final stage of the Tour de l’Avenir today as he finished second after being overtaken in the closing metres in Saint-Colomban-des-Villards Col du Glandon by Swiss rider Gino Mäder. It marked another top result for the Irish team at the prestigious race.
The race was won overall by Slovenia’s Tadej Pogačar ahead of Thymen Arensman (Netherlands) with Mäder in third. Dunbar’s result saw him move back into the top-10 as he finished in 8th position overall. It was the first GC win at the race for a Slovenian rider.
The riders were originally due to start in Val d’Isère and take on the Col de l’Iseran. However, due to poor weather conditions, the stage was shortened to 117 kilometres with the start moved to Bessans. The peloton would still have to face the Col du Chaussy and the first half of the Col du Glandon.
Dunbar went on the attack on the slopes of the Col du Chaussy where some of the GC contenders including Michel Ries (Luxembourg), Ivan Sosa (Colombia) and Fernando Barcelo (Spain) struggled. Dunbar was caught soon after by Russia’s Aleksandr Vlasov before being caught by a small group including Mäder on the descent of the Chaussy.
Mäder then went clear alone and started to make significant inroads into the overall lead of Pogačar. However, the Swiss rider was reeled in by Dunbar, Vlasov and Sosa. Coming in to the finish, Pogacar and Clement Champoussin (France) also made it across.
It was Dunbar who made the first move as they closed in on the finish line before being passed by Mäder in the closing metres. The result marked the third top-10 for Dunbar during the 10-day race having taken 10th on Stage eight and 9th on Stage seven.
The Aqua Blue Sport rider started the final stage in 16th place overall but his impressive performance saw him move up eight positions overall. In addition to Dunbar’s performances, the Irish team also took a number of other top stage results with Mark Downey finishing second on stage six and Michael O’Loughlin taking fourth place on stage three.