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Eddie Dunbar in yellow with Ireland’s only winner of the Tour de France, Stephen Roche. Dunbar has lamented the lost chance for a Tour de France on Irish roads

By Shane Stokes

Irish professional Eddie Dunbar has expressed disappointment at the news that Ireland’s bid to host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France has been shelved, saying that it would have been a big boost to compete in the event on Irish soil.

“I saw that they have pulled out of the bid for the Tour,” he told stickybottle. “It would have been great to do the Tour de France in Ireland. Obviously racing on Irish roads would have been pretty special.”

The bid was first announced back in October 2022, with the governments of the Republic and Northern Ireland expressing an interest in jointly hosting the start of the event in either 2026 or 2027.

However after the latter’s Department of the Economy withdrew last July due to funding pressures, the Irish government decided it was not in a position to go it alone on a Tour start potentially costing between 20 and 30 million.

“I never really got my hopes up too high about it anyway, because when it first came out you could hear people talk about it, but since then it has been pretty silent about it,” Dunbar explained. “So when the news came out I wasn’t too surprised at all.

“But it’s disappointing, nonetheless. It’s probably unlikely now that I will get to do the Tour on Irish roads during my career, but hopefully down the line there will be some more Irish riders who get the opportunity to do that.”

Dunbar is yet to compete in the Tour de France. He is in his second year as a team leader with the Jayco AlUla squad, but will target the Giro d’Italia this season.

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