Top 30 Finish Positions for Junior and U23 Riders at European Championships in Czech Republic
On a tough Road Racing Circuit at the European U23 and Junior Championships in the Czech Republic, Junior Eddie Dunbar and U23 Jack Wilson were the best placed Irish riders, finishing their events 26th and 29th respectively. Both races were fast and technical, with more than half the starters abandoning. Bonnamour (FRA) won the Junior European Title from compatriot Gesbert, with Van Gompel (Bel) in third place. The U23 European Title was won by Belgium’s De Bie, with Vakoc (CZE) in silver, and Skujins (Lat) in bronze.
First year Junior rider Eddie Dunbar, who recently won the Junior Tour, has displayed immense talent, finishing in the main group at the end of his 126km Road Race, with Ciaran Campbell and Danny Bruton named in the long list of non-finishers.
Team Manager Kurt Bogaerts spoke about the Irish Junior Riders saying “This is a very good result for Dunbar. He did amazing on that course, he is very young, and definitely lacked experience. Although he crashed in the neutralised section and was pushed to the side of the road in the race, he still came back to attack at the halfway mark to get to the front group. He showed himself, and so showed his potential for the future. If he works hard he can get somewhere, he was the 7th placed first year junior. For Campbell and Bruton this was good experience, and it will help them get better.”
In the U23 Race, Jack Wilson finished in 29th position, with Conor Dunne finishing in 60th place in the next bunch. Out of the 200 starters, Ryan Mullen and Stephen Clancy were listed among the 130 non finishers.
Bogaerts was happy with the performances of the riders saying “Jack was in the group riding for 10th place. He rode really strong, in a hard circuit at high altitude, finishing well despite a slight mechanical from someone riding into his wheel. It is good to see his performance improving, he wasn’t going so well in April and May, and was sick for the Nationals. It is good to see this performance, on this circuit. For Conor it was not a suitable course, but he recovered well from the TT and it was really good to finish. Stephen got caught behind a crash in the first lap on a fast descent into the cobbled climb, and the job for himself and Ryan, who peaked at the Track Championships, was to help in the first half of the race.”
Speaking in the Czech Republic about Ireland’s long term development programme for the riders, Ireland’s Head Coach Brian Nugent said “This year we put a system in place to carry on from our junior programme last year, and we are very pleased with how it is working for both our Junior and U23 riders. It is great to have someone like Kurt on board, with his wealth of experience, to educate and progress the riders at this top international level.”