Jonathan Vaughters: Maybe Ben Healy could give the Giro d’Italia GC a crack

After a breakthrough season in 2023, Healy may be given GC responsibilities at the Giro d'Italia in 2024

Clock16:00, Saturday 14th October 2023
Ben Healy tasted success at the 2022 Giro d'Italia, winning stage 8

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Ben Healy tasted success at the 2022 Giro d'Italia, winning stage 8

With a monstrous 68.2km of time trialing in the 2024 Giro d’Italia and a softening of mountain stages, EF Education-EasyPost are open to the idea of giving Ben Healy a chance of riding for GC at a Grand Tour.

Any early stage plans at this stage are simply that, and no firm course will be set by the American team until the Tour de France route is announced on October 25 and the team gathers for their first winter camp in the off-season. However, with a course tipped towards the time trialists, the chances of seeing Richard Carapaz aim for a second Giro d’Italia title are relatively slim at this point.

“There’s a lot of flat time trialing for a modern-day Grand Tour. Even compared to the Giro this year, which had the uphill TT at the end. I don’t have a problem with that but obviously if we were to consider racing Carapaz at the Giro, 68km of time trialing is a little tricky. We’d have to see the specifics of the first time trial to understand the punchy bits and the technical bits,” team boss Jonathan Vaughters told GCN in a phone call after the route was unveiled on Friday in Trento, Italy.

“From my perspective it’s not what we were hoping for if we were considering sending Richard to the race. That wasn’t the route that I was looking for.

"Now we’ll wait for the Tour de France route. Until that comes out, it’s impossible to say which rosters go where. 68km of time trials, you’re going to lose four to five minutes and while you can still do top ten, you can forget about winning. Maybe this is an opportunity for Ben Healy to try and ride GC.”

Healy has enjoyed a staggeringly successful breakthrough season at WorldTour level with impressive results in the Spring Classics, a Giro d’Italia stage win, and dash of top-tens in shorter stage races. A wildcard leadership role at the Giro would signify another major stepping stone in the Irish rider’s career.

“With the time trial kilometres, some quite technical stages, and a year under his belt, maybe Healy could give GC a crack? You never want to dampen a breakaway rider’s spirit by forcing them to ride GC. But it’s worth pondering. Remember, Thomas De Gendt was once third overall in the Giro,” Vaughters said, pointing to the 2012 edition of the race that his team won via Ryder Hesjedal. 

“There is some tough stuff packed into the final week but it’s also following the direction of the Tour and Vuelta with a shortening of stages. The Giro was interesting in many ways, and one of those was because they had these massive mountain stages that no one else was doing anymore.

"The race is still going to be hard, without doubt but it does deviate from the typical Giros that were more of a grind. This is shorter, punchier, and time-trial heavy.”

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