CORK'S Eddie Dunbar has joined the world’s biggest professional cycling team, after signing a contract to race with Team Sky until at least the end of 2019.
The 22-year-old Banteer native will link-up with the WorldTour team immediately, following the collapse of his previous team, Aqua Blue Sport. Dunbar is set to make his debut for Team Sky this Saturday, at Italy’s Coppa Agostoni. The former O’Leary Stone Kanturk CC rider has already recorded top-10 finishes at the Tour de l’Avenir and the Tour de Yorkshire this season.
Last year, he announced himself to the cycling world with an impressive solo victory at the u23 Tour of Flanders. He will represent Ireland at the World Championships in Austria, later this month.
Speaking to TeamSky.com, Dunbar said: "I’m really grateful for the opportunity I’m getting after the situation I’ve found myself in. Sometimes a team folding is the way the sport goes.
"I just had to be professional about it and understand the situation. Luckily Sky came along and they offered me a block of Italian races which is good preparation for Innsbruck. It’s all fallen into place for me - and I can’t wait to get started now.
‘‘This is a great opportunity for me to spend the last few weeks of the season with a team I’ll be riding for next year. It will make the transition a lot easier. It’s really helpful to have this opportunity to familiarise myself with everything, especially the riders and the staff, ahead of next season.”
Dunbar is joining a team which has won the overall general classification at six of the last seven Tours de France. This weekend, he’ll emulate Irish riders such as Nicolas Roche and Phillip Deignan, when he pulls on the Team Sky jersey.