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Eddie Dunbar’s big result came at the Giro d’Italia this year, but his team is now eyeing bigger things in stage races with a strong roster next season (Photo: Marco Alpozzi)

Eddie Dunbar this year repaid the confidence Team Jayco AlUla put in him – by signing him during the winter – taking 7th overall at the Giro d’Italia. He also climbed with the very best in the race on some of the hardest mountain stages.

The 27-year-old Irishman will look to capitalise on those performances next season, now that he is in his prime years and has proven what he can do. Senior management at Jayco AlUla has also said the team is very much targeting bigger results next season, with strong riders like Dunbar and Simon Yates, along with a number of new signings.

Those new riders include Australians Luke Plapp and Caleb Ewan and they will slot into the climbing-stage race group and the sprint set-up, respectively. Plapp will ride a number of races with Yates for company next year while Dunbar will also have the support what general manager Brent Copeland calls a “fortified” team.

Plapp, who broke his contract early with Ineos Grenadiers to join Jayco AlUla, is described by the team as an “injection of talent” into an already strong climbing group that includes Yates, Dunbar, Chris Harper and Filippo Zana.

“Over the past couple of years we have created a solid climbing group, riders that can win in their own right but also support our leaders to go for overall general classification results in the biggest races,” said Copeland.

“We have a lot of depth now in the team and with hugely talented riders joining us in 2024, we can only expect more in stage races and hilly one-day events. It is very motivating for all of us heading into the new season with this strength and many options to target results in the biggest races.”

Aside from Ewan and Plapp, three other new riders have also been signed; Dane Anders Foldager, a 22-year-old who won stages of Giro Next Gen and Tour de l’Avenir from breakaways this year; Swiss Mauro Schmid (23), who may be a one-week stage race specialist and signs from Soudal QuickStep; Max Walscheid, a German who will bolster the lead-out strength of the team for Ewan and Dylan Groenewegen.

“We have been working on our sprint lead-out group a lot the past year and have added extra strength to it for next season,” said Copeland. “To have two of the best sprinters in the world on the team, with Caleb and Dylan, it is important to have the right support group and we believe with our new rider signings.

“And the way our current riders have developed and gelled together this year, we will have one of the best sprint groups in the WorldTour peloton for the 2024 season. We are really focusing on the next generation of riders; we have added a women’s development team and we are supporting Axel Merckx with the men’s development team.

“But we are also focusing on guiding and developing new talent within our WorldTour team set up. We saw this year that our youngest riders really stepped up and displayed the potential they have. This proves to us that we have a solid working environment to get the best out of young talent, we have a lot of older experienced riders within the team, and this is crucial in developing the next generation.

“Having the talent of De Pretto, Foldager but also Schmid, who is still a young rider, it will be very interesting to see what they can achieve in 2024 with the support of a WorldTour team.”

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