Eddie Dunbar had a scare late on Saturday’s stage of the Giro d’Italia, puncturing with eight kilometres to go and facing a big chase to get back to the other general classification contenders. Dunbar’s team-mate Campbell Stewart gave him his bike to aid a rapid return, causing confusion due to the transponder on the machine.
The mix-up saw Dunbar initially listed as finishing second-last on the stage and dropping to 14th overall, but the error was spotted and rectified for the final results.
A massive breakaway group and a complete lack of concern by the race favourites saw outsider Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) jump into the race lead, bumping all of the contenders down one place. Those displaced included overnight race leader Geraint Tomas Ineos Grenadiers) and Dunbar (Jayco AlUla).
Thomas is now second overall, one minute 41 seconds off the pink jersey, while Dunbar goes from seventh to eighth.
Armirail had started the day 23rd overall, over 18 minutes back, and is not a serious threat for the general classification. That lack of danger caused Thomas, Dunbar and the other riders in the top 10 to switch off, their teams allowing 29 riders to stay out front until the finish in Cassano Magnago.
German rider Nico Denk (Bora-hasgrohe) was first to the line, outsprinting Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) and Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) and taking his second stage win of this year’s Giro. Armirail was 15th, 53 seconds back, and takes over at the top.
The Giro d’Italia continues on Sunday with a hilly stage to Bergamo. The riders have a rest day on Monday, with a very tough final week following. This will make Armirail’s time as race leader limited.
Dunbar will also not be concerned, and will aim to continue advancing in the general classification. He had set a goal of top 10 overall before the race and providing he avoids trouble and keeps riding as he has been, he seems on course for that.