Eddie Dunbar continued advancing up the general classification in the Giro d’Italia, ending Wednesday’s stage 11 a superb seventh overall. He avoided the chaos on a wet stage to Tortona, staying safe while many others crashed.
He improved two places in the standings due to the withdrawal of third-overall Tao Geoghegan Hart, who fell on a slick left hand curve with 69 kilometres remaining, plus the time loss of Hart’s Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Pavel Sivakov. The latter fell in the same crash and trailed almost 11 minutes behind the bunch sprint stage winner Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates), losing eighth overall.
Dunbar stays two minutes and 32 seconds behind race leader Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers). The Giro continues on Thursday with a hilly 179 kilometre leg to Rivoli.
Meanwhile British riders took the first three places on the opening stage of the Rás Tailteann, going clear of a 24 man breakaway group on the first category climb of Wolftrap Mountain. Conor McGoldrick (UK Richardsons Trek DAS) was the main aggressor on that final climb and while he was later joined by Dan Gardener (UK Embark Spirit BSS) and Joe Laverick (Derry Foyle CC), he was too strong in the sprint into Birr.
“This is the biggest kind of race I’ve done to date,” he said, “so to be in the leader’s jersey tomorrow is going to be really special. Both my parents are from Dublin and the family’s from all over [Ireland], really. So it’s been a race I’ve wanted to do for quite a while. I’ve lived in the UK my whole life but I spent many a summer holiday around Galway.”
US-born Irishman Cormac McGeough (USA Good Guys Racing NYC) was the best of the Irish in fourth, four seconds behind, while Aaron Wade (Team Ireland) led in an 11-man chase group for fifth, some 10 seconds back.
“We survived. Limited our losses,” said defending champion Daire Feeley (Cork All Human/VeloRevolution), seventh on the stage. “There were very little on the line between us and four who managed to stay away. The climb was very difficult, a lot of the lads suffered. I’m very close to the yellow. I think it’s 20 seconds when you look at time bonuses and the gap on the line.
“We’ll just take it day by day and hopefully come out with the yellow jersey.”
The race continues on Thursday with a hilly 154.5 kilometres from Birr to Ennis.