Ben Healy finishes fourth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Young Irish rider caps off a breakout Ardennes campaign with stellar ride
Just a few weeks ago, very few people could have picked Ben Healy out of the peloton, and even fewer would’ve guess that he would finish fourth at one of the toughest monuments on the calendar – Liège-Bastogne-Liège. But he did just that and surprised even himself along the way.
“If you’d asked me a couple weeks ago that I'd be disappointed with a fourth place at Liège, that's pretty crazy,” said Ben Healy with a big smile on his face after the finish. “Fourth is a nice result I think.”
It was another attritional race at Liège-Bastogne-Liège with the peloton slowly whittling down over the 258-kilometer route. The team did a marvelous job shepherding Ben Healy, Neilson Powless and Esteban Chaves all day. Unfortunately, a poorly timed mechanical took Neilon out of contention while Mikkel Honoré was forced to abandon after crashing with 85-kilometers to go. He has a concussion and is currently undergoing further medical examination to assess elbow and shoulder injuries.
Soudal-Quickstep set a brutal pace on the front and by the time the bunch got to the lower slopes of La Redoute only a small group of favorites were left including Ben and Esteban. Eventual race winner, Remco Evenepoel launched his attack near the top of the climb creating a small gap to the riders behind. Ben Healy struggled near the top of the climb, finding himself in the third group on the road.
Over the next thirty kilometers, Ben Healy displayed his racing instincts that have been a staple of his Ardennes campaign and moved himself up into the second group on the road. With 13-kilometers remaining, Ben launched another attack and formed a small group of three that would go to the line to fight for the remaining podium positions.
Coming into Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Ben Healy had turned heads with a pair of second place finishes at De Brabantse Pijl and the Amstel Gold Race. But the young twenty-two-year-old had been on stellar form all spring, taking wins at the GP Industria & Artigianato and Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. Now, with another top result, Ben is hungry for more.
“It’d be nice to come back and compete for a win at a race like this,” said Ben. “But as I said, if you had told me two weeks ago I would’ve bitten your hand off for it.”
We can’t wait to see what the future holds.