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Eddie Dunbar said he went into the TT title race with “no expectations” and after well over two months away from racing, he’s the new Irish champion (Photo: Eamon Doody-Skyview Photography)

Eddie Dunbar hadn’t pinned on numbers for well over two months before starting his TT ride at the National Road Championships in Co Limerick this evening.

But when the Cork rider rocketed over the finish line some 45 minutes and nine seconds later he was Irish champion, having taken his first win of the year.

It was a stylish return to racing after his very unfortunate stage 2 Giro crash at the start of May and a reminder, though none was needed, of the class of Team Jayco AlUla star.

That he beat Ryan Mullen (Bora-hansgrohe) – even if by just 15 seconds – tells all you need to know about Dunbar’s condition and he said after the finish he was immediately looking forward to Sunday’s road race and hoping for the “same legs” as he had in the TT.

“I recon-ed it yesterday quite a bit, I went through the course with Barry Meade a lot… just the technical side of the course, because there was a few corners,” he said of the TT course.

“And I think that’s what won it for me today and I did have good legs, I’m not going to lie. But, yeah, I needed that. It’s nice to know the legs are there after all the mishaps this year, to get a Nationals jersey, it’s massive.”

Dunbar also noted it was his first Irish title win at elite level, something that clearly pleased him after being champion in his junior and U23 days.

“I’ve the full set now, I think… junior, U23 and elites. I’m just delighted and I’ll rest now over the next few days and go into Sunday, again with no expectations, and hope I have the same legs as today.”

Dunbar deposed last year’s champion Mullen, on a draggy course, by just 15 seconds with Irish amateur rider George Peden (Team PB Performance) showing his class to take the bronze medal; a fantastic performance.

Peden was 1:15 down on winner Dunbar and 15 seconds up on the man who took 4th place, last year’s U23 champion Darren Rafferty; the EF Education-EasyPost man now moved up into the elite category even though on aged grounds, at the age of 20 years, he was still eligible for the U23 title race.

Marcus Christie (Cycling Club Isle of Man), a former medal winner in the elite TT title race, was 5th at 3:19 with Conn McDunphy (Team Skyline) rounding out the top six on the night at 3:48.

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