Ben Healy finding feet at Giro d'Italia debut after Ardennes success
Fresh from recent success in the Ardennes Classics, Ben Healy has now made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia, where the young Irish racer hopes to combine helping EF Education-EasyPost GC leaders Hugh Carthy and Rigoberto Urán with a crack at a stage or two himself.
After coming 49th in the opening time trial, the 22-year-old told Cyclingnews at the stage 2 start that he was not overly satisfied with his result but hopes for better luck further down the line.
"My result was a bit lower than I expected, I like to think I can do a good time trial on my day and I've come here feeling fresh after the Ardennes," Healy told Cyclingnews, in an understated reference to his current Irish National TT title.
Giro d'Italia classifications, jerseys and rules explained
Ben Healy ready for Giro d'Italia 'unknown' in Grand Tour debut
'I'd have bitten your hand off' - Ben Healy on breakout Liège-Bastogne-Liège
"It was pan flat for the first part, and being 60 kilos, I'm sure that doesn't help, but it would have been nicer to have had a better result at the end. I tried to hold something back and then smash it on the climb."
Still, as the surprise success story of the Ardennes Classics, with second places in Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl as well as fourth in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Healy clearly has no fear of performing above expectations. At the 2023 Giro d’Italia, there’s no knowing where his ambitions will take him.
Healy said that the Italian Grand Tour had always been his main priority for the first half of the season and that the Ardennes had been "more last-minute for me."
“When I saw I was going well, I thought there was no harm in carrying on with the Ardennes program," he explained.
His main goals in the Giro are to support Urán and Carthy "first and foremost, but there will be some opportunities for us stage hunters."
He and his EF teammates came through the bad crash at the end of stage 2 unscathed, the team said on Twitter, although he, Carthy and Urán all were caught behind the pile-up and lost 19 seconds on GC.
After the time trial, his next aim, Healy said, is simply to get more of a feeling for the event, and then he'll begin to see what he can target next.
"I'll take the opportunities when and where they come, but first I'm going to see how the race is raced. After that, I'll take it from there."