We’re back after a short break with an in-depth interview with the youngest ever stage winner of the Tour de l’Avenir, Ben Healy.
Ben currently rides for the new British development team Trinity Racing alongside a whole host of promising young riders, not least of which is Tom Pidcock.
Growing up in the Midlands, he started his cycling career racing mountain bikes and was good enough to be on British Cycling’s Olympic development programme. But he was dropped from the programme just before he moved up to the junior level. He decided to try out road racing instead, and almost by accident ended up at the Zappi Racing junior team. The team gave a good programme of international racing and Ben excelled. Not only did he finish second in the Junior Tour of Wales, he also won the junior Tour of the Basque Country beating Remco Evenepoel in the process. Not a bad start to his road racing career. Despite his success, the British team overlooked for selection to the world championships. This led him to decide to switch to an Irish racing licence, a decision he says he hasn’t regretted at all.
Riding for Wiggins-Le Col, last season was his first an under-23 rider. He finished 11th in the U23 Gent-Wevelgem and 15th in the U23 time trial at the worlds in Yorkshire. But undoubtedly his standout result was his Tour de l’Avenir stage win. Not only was he the youngest ever stage winner of the race, he was also the first Irishman to win a stage since Stephen Roche in 1981.
Like most British-based riders, his season has been stunted by the postponement and cancellation of races across Europe in the wake of COVID-19. The interview was recorded just before his recent racing exploits but in the few chances he has had since then, he has already impressed in the few chances he has had. He supported Tom Pidcock to his baby Giro win at the beginning of September and then finished second on stage 1 of the Ronde de l’Isard, a race which is still ongoing as we recorded the intro to this podcast. To top it off, he’s also been selected to represent Ireland in the world road race championships this year.
Big thanks to our new title sponsor Continental tyres. It’s lovely that a brand that is such a big sponsor of the Tour de France is also backing our humble podcast too.