Ben Healy edged out for second Giro d’Italia stage win in tight sprint to the line

Eddie Dunbar remains eighth overall, three minutes and 40 seconds behind the race leader

Ireland’s Ben Healy went painfully close to a second stage win at the Giro d’Italia on Sunday, finishing second in a tight sprint to the line in Bergamo. After a day on the attack, the EF Education EasyPost rider was edged out by American rider Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), with Italian Marco Frigo (Israel-Premier Tech) third.

Healy sparked off the day’s big move when he went on the attack very early on with Simone Velasco (Astana Qazaqstan). They were joined by McNulty, Frigo and 11 others, with two more riders successfully bridging across.

Healy was first to the top of the category one Valico di Valcava climb, and collected more points for the King of the Mountains competition when he reached the prime line first on the Selvino and was second atop the Miragolo San Salvatore.

He then jumped clear on the Roncola Alta climb with just over 30 kilometres from the finish, dropping McNulty and others. However the American was able to get back to him on the descent, while Frigo bridged to those two with approximately ten kilometres left.


Healy’s stage eight victory and his determination to take a second such success was spurring him on. Conscious that his finishing sprint is not his strong point, he tried repeatedly to drop his rivals. He unleashed a huge dig on the final climb of the Colle Aperto but McNulty was wise to the danger and tracked him all the way. Frigo was dropped but managed to get back to them just before the sprint, only for McNulty to outpace Healy and himself.

“I had him for a bit,” Healy said of McNulty on the final climb. “I had the legs to drop him on the steeper bit, but as soon as it shallowed out again I was struggling and he slowly but surely clawed me back. And then I couldn’t drop him on this last little bit. He was pretty strong today.

“It was a nice race and hopefully a good show for the people. We raced until the line as well, so it was good fun.”

The prime points collected by Healy see him jump five places to fourth overall in the King of the Mountains competition. He is just eight points off second place.

Ireland’s other rider in the race Eddie Dunbar was part of the group of overall contenders. These rolled in six minutes 53 seconds back, with others such as Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ) and Hugh Carthy (EF Education EasyPost) conceding another two seconds.

Dunbar remains eighth overall, three minutes and 40 seconds behind the race leader Bruno Armirail (Groupama – FDJ). Monday is a rest day at the Giro, with a very tough final six stages following after that. Four of those are summit finishes, including one hilly time trial, and these will be crucial to Dunbar’s hopes of a strong overall finish.

It is only his second Grand Tour ever, and his first as a designated team leader.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling