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Seth Dunwoody has been in European action this weekend and has again impressed, with another very strong result for the Irish junior road race champion (Photo: Kimberleec-Vlad Gloria Van Mechelen)

Seth Dunwoody and Adam Rafferty may not be in the same peloton this year, with one in the junior ranks and the other having moved up to U23, but both Irish riders are continuing to impress again this season.

Dunwoody, the Irish junior road race champion competing with Cannibal B Victorious, has built his latest result in a UCI-ranked race by performing in both road race and TT action.

He went back to the Guido Reybrouck Classic (2.1) two-day stage race in Belgium, where he was 7th overall in his first weeks as a junior last year, and has shown his progress, especially against the watch.

The 17-year-old was in the race with three fellow Irish riders; Patrick Casey (Team GRENKE-Auto Eder), Conor Prendergast and Tom Kinsella, both competing with Van Mossel Heist Cycling Team. The Irish riders did especially well on today’s road stage.

On the opening stage on Saturday – a pan flat 11.4km TT in Damme – Dunwoody placed 8th of the 148-rider field, finishing some 17 seconds down on stage winner Louis Chaleil (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale U19 Team).

Casey placed 29th, a strong result in itself in a large international field, at 45 seconds while Prendergast was 58th at 1:05 and Kinsella placed 97th at 1:43.

On today’s 121.9km road race stage – the final of the two-stage race – the field split to pieces, with only the very strongest making the front group. Dunwoody was among those in the 50-strong remains of the peloton, with Casey and Prendergast also making the cut; a really promising sign for the three Irish riders.

Dunwoody placed 21st on the stage with Casey 48th and Prendergast 49th while Kinsella was a non-finisher. That result today put Dunwoody 5th overall in the final general classification.

He was some 17 seconds down on overall winner Chaleil, with Casey 18th at 45 seconds and Prendergast 31st at 1:05.

Over in Greece, Adam Rafferty has been in action for his new Hagens Berman-Jayco, taking in the four-stage Tour of Rhodes (2.2). Also in the field were fellow Irish riders Conn McDunphy (Team Skyline), Leo Doyle (XSpeed United Continental) and Cian Keogh (Team Skyline).

Rafferty opened his effort with a very strong performance in the 3.8km uphill TT in Ialyssos on Thursday, placing 11th some 25 seconds down on stage winner André Drege (Team Coop-Repsol). McDunphy was 39th at 39 seconds with Doyle 100th at 1:13 and Keogh 124th at 1:31.

The second stage of the race – some 148km from Rhodes to Maritsa with three categorised climbs – ended in a 50-rider sprint won by US rider Scott McGill (Project Echelon Racing). McDunphy and Rafferty both finished in that front group, in 23rd and 44th, with Doyle 87th at 5:02 and Keogh 137th at 15:17.

Saturday’s third stage – some 158.6km from Rhodes to Kalithies – featured a challenging finish, with time gaps emerging on the final push to the line. Italian Alessandro Romele (Astana Qazaqstan Development Team) claimed victory, leading in a 10 riders who finished just three seconds up on the next 39 riders.

And Rafferty was at the back of those 39 men – placing 49th on the day – giving his general classification a boost as the next group of riders was 14 seconds back; McDunphy among them, in 58th. Doyle was 99th at 54 seconds while Keogh was 138th at 18:09.

On today’s fourth and final stage – 150.5km from Rhodes to Kremasti – Rafferty began the day 8th overall some 34 seconds down on Norwegian race leader Drege. Just 18 riders made the front group today – with Rafferty one of them – finishing 2:29 up on the next group.

Rafferty’s 13th place on the stage saw him finish 9th overall – 37 seconds down on GC winner Drege – and he was 2nd overall in the young rider classification. Those were excellent results for the 18-year-old competing in his first weeks out of the junior ranks.

McDunphy was 24th today, in the second group on the road at 2:29, with Doyle and Keogh 64th and 89th, both in a group at 19:55. As well as Rafferty placing 9th overall, McDunphy was 27th at 3:31 with Doyle 92nd at 27:13 and Keogh 120th at 55:01.

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