Ben Healy was one of the stars of the 2023 Giro d'Italia, lighting up the race at his first career Grand Tour, taking a stage win and wearing the King of the Mountains jersey for a number of days. But could an even more successful race be on the cards next year?
“There’s a lot of flat time trialing for a modern-day Grand Tour. Even compared to the Giro this year, which had the uphill TT at the end. I don’t have a problem with that but obviously if we were to consider racing Carapaz at the Giro, 68km of time trialing is a little tricky," analyses the boss of Healy's EF Education-EasyPost team, Jonathan Vaughters in conversation with GCN. "We’d have to see the specifics of the first time trial to understand the punchy bits and the technical bits."
“Cycling must establish a system in which teams have an equal opportunity to succeed" - Jonathan Vaughters presses need for change after Visma-Soudal debacle
Healy has predominantly excelled in one day races so far in his career with impressive performances this spring at races such as the Amstel Gold Race, Liege-Bastonge-Liege and Brabantse Pijl. Could he sustain a race-winning challenge over three weeks though?
“From my perspective it’s not what we were hoping for if we were considering sending Richard to the race. That wasn’t the route that I was looking for," Vaughters continues. "Now we’ll wait for the Tour de France route. Until that comes out, it’s impossible to say which rosters go where. 68km of time trials, you’re going to lose four to five minutes and while you can still do top ten, you can forget about winning. Maybe this is an opportunity for Ben Healy to try and ride GC.”
Profiles & Route Giro d'Italia 2024 - Official profiles revealed; 68Km of time-trial, Gravel, Stelvio and double Grappa ascent included
“With the time trial kilometres, some quite technical stages, and a year under his belt, maybe Healy could give GC a crack? You never want to dampen a breakaway rider’s spirit by forcing them to ride GC. But it’s worth pondering. Remember, Thomas De Gendt was once third overall in the Giro,” the EF Education-EasyPost boss concludes.
“There is some tough stuff packed into the final week but it’s also following the direction of the Tour and Vuelta with a shortening of stages. The Giro was interesting in many ways, and one of those was because they had these massive mountain stages that no one else was doing anymore. The race is still going to be hard, without doubt but it does deviate from the typical Giros that were more of a grind. This is shorter, punchier, and time-trial heavy.”