Feature – Interview with Eddie Dunbar


Talking to an 18 year old Irish rider coming from the Junior ranks into UCI Conti team NFTO, Eddie Dunbar

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Feature – Interview with Eddie Dunbar

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The new season always brings new riders into the British scene and this year, one of those is an eighteen year old climber who has some very impressive results behind him as a junior. Let me introduce you to Eddie Dunbar from Cork in Ireland.

I have posted a picture of Eddie on the Facebook page (as below) and whilst the other pics are well liked, the one of Eddie is proving to be very popular so the Irish rider certainly has a lot of fans or a very big family!


Eddie is the only double winner of the Junior Tour of Ireland and last year won the Tour of Wales as well to do the Welsh/Irish double. The step up to the senior ranks is always a tough one for a youngster but on the first ride together with the NFTO UCI Conti team and the subsequent race to the team house, who should be at the front in a two up break with Jonny McEvoy –yep, Eddie!

The youngster is well known for his aggressive style and also his ambitious nature and in other interviews has talked of the Tour of Britain being a big goal. That’s because he wants to get big results and move up into the Pro conti or World tour ranks as soon as possible. “I want to be the best rider I can be and get the most out myself” he says.

Eddie tell us he’s seen a lot of the British races on TV but it’s not just them he wants to have a shot at but the UCI events that are now held in Britain. “I can see what the races look like and it will be good to do them and a good step up from what I have been doing but it would good to also get a ride in the big UCI races well as though”.

“I’d prefer to be thrown in at the deep end. For me, that is the best way for me to learn and make it as hard as possible because I don’t like it when they are easy. I prefer to do a really hard race and get something out of it”.

Signing for the NFTO team which is equally ambitious and has some exciting plans for the future, is a good move by the 18 year old. Whilst he won the Junior Tour of Wales, sponsored by NFTO, it was not that race which saw him come to the team’s attention but a race with the Irish Munster team.


Cafe stop …. Welsh style.

He explained in an interview with one of his sponsors in 2014 “I got into the break with the entire NFTO and Rapha teams and I had to cover a lot of attacks as I had no team mates so I obviously made a bit of an impression that day”.

His worth as a professional can be seen by the fact it wasn’t just NFTO who wanted to sign him but others such as AN Post. “I met the owner of the team John Wood and he was a big part in me signing as he is really enthusiastic and wants to do everything in his power to help the riders improve and move onto the next level. He seems to strike me a bit like Oleg Tinkov in that he is really passionate about the sport and wants the best for his riders”.

Like Oleg, John is also not afraid to get out on the bike and have a go, riding with his professionals and attacking them on the climbs as he does regularly on the ‘club’ rides.

Whilst he is yet to ride a senior race as a senior rider, Eddie admits he has done a lot of senior racing in Ireland. “The majority of the races I did in Ireland last year were A1 (category 1 here), A2 and A3 category which is a good standard of senior racing but not quite what the English standard would be like where there are more riders.”


Great training roads for Eddie staying in the team house.

The Learning Process
Whilst ambitious to do as well as he can as soon as he can, Eddie is aware he needs to learn and his new team is ideal for that he explained. “It is a brilliant opportunity to be part of NFTO and learn off riders like Steele von Hoff who has experience in the pro ranks winning World Tour races”.

“He’ll be a good guy to go out training with if I get the chance. And guys too like Ian Bibby and Rob (Partridge) who have been round the British scene for so long. They have experience of not only the Premier Calendar races here but the RAS too and that may play into my hands down the line when I try to win that.”

Eddie has also had to learn to live away from home. Before signing for NFTO and moving into the team house, the maximum Eddie had been away from home was ten days so it’s a big change he admits.

“I have a lot of family in England” though he adds. “My mum’s family is down in London and so is my dads, so grandparents, cousins and so on are in the London area. I came here a lot as a child so it’s a big lifestyle change but it’s not a big change overall.”

2014 Highlights
Asked what the highlights were last season, Eddie says “Winning the Junior Tour of Ireland for the second time is one as no–one has ever done back to back victories. So to be the first to do that was a bit surreal especially when you look at the names that have won it like Mark Scanlon, Martin Early, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Roche.”

“You see that and also see I am the first person to win it twice has taken a while to sink in. The Junior Tour of Wales which is a phenomenal race where I was 5th in 2013, was the main aim in 2014 and I achieved that”.

“I did a number of Nations Cups (Junior UCI races) as well and I was second overall in Trofeo Karlsberg (stage race) but a few months later I found out the guy who won the race tested positive for EPO. I was then promoted to winner so that too would have been another big victory but I didn’t get to celebrate it like I’d want to.”


Eddie, the smallest rider in the team, riding at the front with the biggest rider, James ‘Tank’ Lewis.

Looking ahead to 2015, Eddie explained how he’s taken advantage of leaving school and been doing more training to get ready for this first season as a senior. “I did what I normally do but more this winter” he says.

“The year before, I had school and exams so you’d only get to train weekends and the odd day in the week but now I am full time, I am training most days. You go out in the morning before coming back and resting. It’s not a bad life!”

“There is lot of training done now though so I am itching to get going in the first race and hopefully it will go well and it will be a good season.”

Good luck to Eddie in 2015. With plenty of the British races having some climbing, seeing how well the young Irish rider gets on will be another exciting part of the coming season…

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