Ben Healy (18) brushes off crash to attack hard at Rás Mumhan

Posted on: April 20th, 2019
Ben Healy leads the breakaway before it was further reduced to three, with the Ribble Pro boys and Paidi O’Brien in the line (All photos with thanks to Brendan Slattery)

Having placed 3rd on the opening stage of Rás Mumhan, Ben Healy said his legs felt heavy as he had crashed mid week.

The teenager, and last year’s Irish junior TT champion, was out training when he was hit by a motorist in a car.

“A car pulled out on me and I hit it head on going over the bars onto the windscreen,” he explained.

“I was really lucky not to have broken anything,” he added of the incident that left his frame broken.

Ben Healy’s Pinarello Team Wiggins bike after the teenager’s training ride crash last week.

However, he has clearly dusted himself down since then judging by his Rás Mumhan ride on the first stage.

Healy, who is riding for Team Wiggins this year but for the national team in Kerry this weekend, got clear in an eight-man breakaway.

That was soon whittled down to six and as the finish neared it was trimmed further to three.

Healy was there with the Ribble Pro duo of Alex Luhrs and Daniel Bigham. While the Irish rider had to be context with 3rd on the stage, he gained big time on everyone else.

Luhrs won the stage from Bigham, with Healy losing three seconds to them on the finishing straight.

But the next riders were over 1:30 back and the peloton lost just seconds short of six minutes.

The reigning Rás Mumhan champion leads the chase group; all of whom are still in the overall fight, though they have work to do having lost time.
Conor Kissane in the green of Ireland. The Kerryman knows these roads and would love to take something from his debut ride in the green (Photos by Brendan Slattery)

For Healy, the performance was a strong one for an 18-year-old. But it was perhaps no surprise considering he was 11th in the recent U23 Gent Wevelgem.

“It was hard from the start,” he said of yesterday’s short but very sharp two-hour stage.

“Once we had established the main break it was just constantly on the pedals all day until the finish.

“Coming into the finish it was me and the Ribble boys from about 15km out. But they first started attacking me on the final climb of the day.

“I knew all I had to do was just follow everything for as long as I could and hopefully get to the finish with them, which is what I managed to do.

“Luckily it was a head wind so it made the chasing down a little bit easier,” he added of holding his rivals for the last 5km.

While he suffered no apparent serious injury during his training crash, he said he felt it in his performance in Kerry.

“The legs actually felt fairly heavy (because) I got hit by the car during the week and I took it easy since then coming into this race. So I should get better as the race goes on.

“For the next few days I’ll treat every day as its own race and hopefully I can come away with the overall.”