Costa and Lampre-Merida warm up on Liege-Bastogne-Liege course - News Shorts

Irish U23 champ Dunbar breaks collarbone in training crash, Teklehaimanot confident ahead of Liege

Lampre-Merida train on Liege-Bastogne-Liege course

Rui Costa, fourth at Liege-bastogne-Liege last year, will lead Lampre-Merida on Sunday as the Italian team tries to strike gold in the Belgian monument.

Costa will be joined for La Doyenne by Matteo Bono, Valerio Conti, Mario Costa, Louis Meintjes, Manuele Mori, Jan Polanc and Diego Ulissi.

In 2015 Costa was fourth in a sprint from a 10-rider group, crossing the line behind winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), runner-up Julain Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Meintjes finished 11th, leading Team Sky's Lars Petter Nordhaug home 10 seconds after the leaders.

The eight Lampre riders who will participate on Sunday started their recon of Sunday's 253km course from the Cote de la Haute-Levée, covering the Col du Rosier, the Col du Maquisard, the Cote de la Redoute, the Cote de la Roche aux Faucons, the Col de Saint Nicolas and the 2016 route's new climb, the Cote de la Rue Naniot. The new hill, which is 600 meters of cobblestones with gradient of 10.5 percent, summits just 2.5km from the finish line.

Alejandro Valverde sprinting to his third Liège - Bastogne - Liège career win
Valverde sprinting to his 2015 Liège win ahead of Alaphilippe, Rodriguez and Costa.

Irish U23 champion Dunbar breaks collarbone in training crash

Eddie Dunbar, the Irish U23 champion who rides for US Continental team Axeon-Hagens Berman, broke his right collarbone in a crash while training Wednesday near his home in Banteer, Ireland, according to a statement from his team.

Dunbar was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair his shoulder this week and is expected to be back on the bike with his indoor trainer in about a week. The accident happened while Dunbar was motopacing about 60km from his home.

"I went around the corner and the side of the road was not in the best condition," Dunbar said. "I managed to keep control of my bike, but I hit a metal guardrail and went flying over the handlebars."

Dunbar, who broke his left collarbone last year at the Tour de Yorkshire, said this latest incident happened in the blink of an eye.

"I was very lucky,” he said. “I was probably going 50 or 60 kilometers an hour. It could have been a lot worse, especially if there had been a car coming on the other side of the road."

Axeon Hagens Berman General Manager Axel Merckx said Dunbar should be back in competition in about a month.

"For sure it is a big loss,” Merckx said. “I know he was targeting the Amgen Tour of California in a big way. It's one of the reasons guys come to this team, to do those big races."

In his first year with Merckx's development team, Dunbar has so far been part of the Axeon squad that won the team classification at the Volta ao Alentejo in Portugal, and he was part of the team this past Saturday as Logan Owen won the Under 23 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

"Breaking his collarbone is very unfortunate," Merckx said. "But we have many more races coming after this and he should be able to get some results for himself. We have a strong team so I know we have a bunch of guys who can step up. But I am disappointed for him because I know he has been putting in a lot of training."

Eddie Dunbar (Ireland) leading a three man break
Eddie Dunbar (Ireland) leading a three man break at the Richmond World Championships.

Dimension Data's Teklehaimanot confident ahead of Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data) said Friday that he is confident going into Sunday's final Ardennes Classic, Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The Eritrean rider will be one of eigth from the South African team, including Steve Cummings, who has won stages so far this year at Tirreno-Adriatico and Pais Vasco, Merhawi Kudus, Omar Fraile, Igor Anton, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Serge Pauwels and Kanstantsin Siutsou.

“I am really confident for Liege-Bastogne-Liege because the bad weather in Europe is mostly over now. They say it might snow but I am hopeful the weather stays in the same way like the last weeks,” Teklehaimanot said.

“The course is really good for me because the climbs are a bit longer and not so steep so I hope I have perfect legs on race day. Steve is also going really well so it could be a good race for him but we have a lot of strong guys in the team actually. So we will have a good team and we will all give our best for a good result.”

Daniel Teklehaimanot drives the Dubai Tour train at the Dubai Tour
Daniel Teklehaimanot drives the Dimension Data train at the Dubai Tour.

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