The Tre Cime di Lavaredo is a paradoxical form of place. Essentially the most lovely mountainscape of the Giro d’Italia can also be the crucible for its most intense moments of struggling. That was the case when the race first got here this manner in 1968 and the story repeated itself simply as fiercely on the Giro’s seventh go to to the sacred mountain on Friday.
Eddie Dunbar (Jayco AlUla) has confirmed his aptitude as a Grand Tour contender together with his assured shows on this Giro, his first three-week race as a workforce chief. His momentum lastly stalled a bit of, nonetheless, on these dizzyingly steep last 3km of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the place the gradient stiffens to double digits and thinning air exaggerates the influence of each effort.
The Irishman misplaced contact with the maglia rosa group with a shade over 2km to go, and from there, his climb was an train in harm limitation. Dunbar would lose over a minute to Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers), dropping a spot to fifth general, 4:53 down.
“I simply suffered. It has been a protracted three weeks,” Dunbar mentioned after being helped right into a jacket past the end line. “I simply suffered up that final climb. There’s not far more to say actually.
“It wasn’t my greatest day, by any means. My legs weren’t my greatest in comparison with the final days. As I mentioned, we’re after three onerous weeks and the altitude possibly obtained to me a bit as properly. However no excuses, I did not have the legs immediately, easy as.”
Dunbar hadn’t raced a Grand Tour since he made his Giro debut 4 years in the past within the colors of Ineos, the place he was deployed in help of Pavel Sivakov reasonably than as a frontrunner. Earlier than this race, he was heartened by how properly he had handled the ultimate week in 2019, and his performances in current days had appeared to justify that confidence.
At Monte Bondone on Tuesday, Dunbar moved as much as fourth general after he matched Roglic all the best way to the summit. At Val di Zoldo on Thursday, he lasted the tempo with Thomas, Roglic and João Almeida higher than anybody else earlier than relenting barely within the last kilometre. At Tre Cime di Lavaredo on Friday, it appeared these efforts may need exacted a toll.
“It was all the time going to be tough. Perhaps I went a bit too deep yesterday and paid for it immediately, nevertheless it’s all studying,” mentioned Dunbar.
The Dolomite tappone took in some 5,400m of complete climbing, distributed throughout 5 mountain passes. The Campolongo, Valparola and Giau got here and went with out undue incident, however the depth started to ratchet upwards on the penultimate ascent of the Tre Croci. The maglia rosa group was whittled all the way down to its naked bones on the decrease slopes of Tre Cime di Lavaredo forward of that evocative, vertiginous finale.
“It was only a unusual day, it was simply the 2 final climbs that had been fairly quick. Earlier than that, Ineos managed it fairly properly,” Dunbar mentioned. “It was a troublesome day, however I am not in search of excuses. I simply did not have the legs, you recognize.”
On crossing the road, Dunbar was initially underneath the impression that he had slipped significantly within the general standings, however the Corkman did sufficient to carry onto a spot within the prime 5, 17 seconds away from Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).
For higher or for worse, the struggling of this Giro did not finish at Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Dunbar will look to carry that place – or maybe even leapfrog Damiano Caruso, 42 seconds forward in 4th – in Saturday’s mountain time trial to Monte Lussari. “I will simply go all in tomorrow and see the place I find yourself,” Dunbar mentioned.