Dunbar relishing Provence test

07 Feb 2020

Dunbar relishing Provence test

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Eddie Dunbar is looking forward to kick-starting his 2020 season with a return to the Tour de la Provence.

The Irishman impressed at the French event 12 months ago, and fresh off a good off-season and a new training base, Dunbar is relishing the opportunity to pin on some numbers.
A winter move to Monaco has seen the 23 year old join up with a growing group of Team INEOS riders and staff, in addition to a new coach in Tim Kerrison.
“After the move I’ve been really focused on training for the last four or five weeks,” he told TeamINEOS.com. “I’m feeling good and I’ve come out of the off-season well recovered and mentally refreshed, ready for another year of full-tilt racing.
“Having Tim over here in Monaco, it made sense to have him overlook my training. We have daily contact and he can see me every day on the bike. That helps him and it helps me too with feedback. It’s been really good and there’s a good group of us here. Being around the guys helps me get to know them even better. It makes a big difference.”
Eddie Dunbar

Eddie Dunbar

I’m relaxed and really focused on one objective, which is training well and then carrying that into the racing."
Familiarity with the team, in addition to signing a new three-year contract last September, has ensured that Dunbar is in a good place as he prepares to tackle what he hopes will be his biggest season to date.
He added: “After a full year with the team and having the contract it’s put me in a good place mentally. I’m relaxed and really focused on one objective, which is training well and then carrying that into the racing.”

A stand-out race for Dunbar last season, Provence yielded a seventh-place finish overall, but left him wanting more after some climbing heroics, notably on the final stage.
He said: “I felt like I was one of the strongest riders in the race last year. I was frustrated not to come away with a better result from that race with the legs I had. But the fact I was able to be there, compete at the pointy end of the race and still be strong was good. The course this year is a bit harder with a bit more climbing which is good, so I’m looking forward to going back there. 
“It’s a nice way to start your season. The stages aren’t a crazy length but it’s good hard racing. You’ve got your flat stages, your Ardennes-style tests and then the one mountaintop finish on Mont Ventoux. It’s certainly an interesting race and it’s a good place to test your legs, set yourself up for the season and see where you’re at.”

Dunbar will be part of a strong lineup in France, with Pavel Sivakov and Gianni Moscon all carrying strong form into the race. Owain Doull, Michal Golas, Chris Lawless and Ian Stannard round out the seven-man team.
On the lineup he confirmed: “This year going into the race with a co-leadership race is nice. There’s obviously Pavel and Gianni there. So we’ve got some strong climbers in the group and then Chris there for the flatter days. We’ve also got three really strong riders in Doull, Stannard and Golas for experience and helping us during the race. We’ll all help each other at some point and no matter which of us it is, hopefully we can come out of it with a good result.”
The races arrive thick and fast, with Dunbar looking forward to a busy schedule as he builds up to his main early-season target – a return to the Giro d’Italia.
“Starting the year I’m set to head to UAE Tour after Provence. My programme for March is still not set in stone but April should be all about the Ardennes, followed by the Giro in May. That’s what I’ll be working towards – and I’ve got a bit more notice for the Giro this year! That helps and we’ll work towards that. It all starts next week.”