One day after his superb stage win in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, Ben Healy made further advances in the general classification of the Italian race on Friday.
The Irish time trial champion finished sixth on stage four to Fiorano Modenese, being part of a chase group which almost reeled in the long-distance breakaway rider Alexis Guerin (Bingoal WB).
Healy’s group comprised five riders and finished just three seconds behind Guerin.
Swiss rider Mauro Schmid (Soudal-QuickStep) continues to lead overall. Healy improved one place to sixth in the general classification, and also sits second in the points competition and fifth in the king of the mountains contest. His EF Education-EasyPost squad dominates the team rankings.
Healy is 44 seconds behind Schmid with one stage remaining, an 18.6 kilometre individual time trial in Carpi.
Meanwhile Seth Dunwoody is due to line out in the prestigious Gent-Wevelgem/Grote Prijs A. Noyelle-Ieper race for junior riders on Sunday. The 16-year-old has performed strongly thus far this season, netting 11th in 1.1-ranked Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne juniors on February 26th and then last weekend taking sixth on stage two and seventh overall in the 2.1-ranked Guido Reybrouck Classic. He won the youth classification for first year juniors.
At home, Cycling Ireland’s National Road Series begins this weekend with the running of the Donal Crowley Memorial Race in Blarney on Sunday. The men’s race will be 140 kilometres in length and features an out and back stretch plus two laps of a hilly circuit for a total of 1,460 metres of climbing.
The women’s race is 90 kilometres and takes in one lap of the same circuit, totalling 900 metres of ascent.
“We can promise an excellent race comprising of tough terrain in keeping with a National Series event,” said race organiser Declan Shine.
“It is a spectacular route and will be exciting for both riders and spectators. The event has all the ingredients of a classic road race, with top class fields from across the country along with our own Blarney Cycling Club riders.
“The route goes over Nadd mountain this year from the Banteer side – once for the Women’s National Series race and twice for the Men’s National Series Race. This is the highest point of the race and offers spectacular views too.”
The event is the first of seven rounds of this year’s series, two more than last year. The 2022 series champions were Matthew Teggart and Gabriele Glodenyte.
Competitors can sign on is at Blarney GAA club and racing begins at noon.