21 year-old Irish rider Eddie Dunbar (Aqua Blue Sport) took a fine fifth place in the Volta Limburg Classic (1.1) today after getting into the winning break in the hilly Dutch race. Following on from his 21st place overall at the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali (2.1) last week, it’s another indication that the young rider has overcome injuries he sustained last season.

The riders faced 38 hills during the 197.5-kilometre race which started and finished in Eijsden and to make things more difficult, they also encountered some difficult weather conditions in the second half of the race.

Yoann Bagot (Vital Concept) and Nahom Desale (Beat Cycling Club) were the first riders to gain a significant gap but the duo were caught after 140 kilometres. When this move was caught, the next group went clear which included Dunbar, Marco Tizza (Nippo – Vini Fantini – Europa Ovini), Ben Perry (Israel Cycling Academy), Thomas Degand (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Jens Van den Dool (Delta Cycling Rotterdam) and Oscar Riesebeek (Team Roompot).

This group worked well together and quickly gained a two minute lead over the peloton. With 40 kilometres remaining though, they were joined by Jimmy Janssens (Cibel – Cebon) and Jan Tratnik (CCC Sprandi Polkowice).

Tratnik proved strongest in the sprint finish, beating Tizza and Janssens into second and third respectively with Dunbar just finishing behind Degand. It was the second victory of the season for Tratnik who also won the time-trial at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali.

“It was a really tough and stressful day on the bike. The roads were small and there were lots of short, steep climbs. I didn’t feel great at the beginning but felt stronger as the race progressed. I realised that whether you were in the bunch or up the road you’d be using the same amount of energy and luckily I managed to find myself in a strong break of six committed guys which made it all the way to the finish,” said Dunbar.

“I knew with about 65 kilometres to go that we were not going to get caught, specially when Tratnik came to the front. My goal, in the end, was to try and get on the podium. But all I could do was hang on because I was cramping in both legs!,” concluded the 21-year-old.


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