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If Ben Healy has the same legs in Strade Bianche that he had on the final stage at Volta ao Algarve, he can have a big say this Saturday

Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) will be Ireland’s sole representative in Strade Bianche, the Italian one day World Tour race over the spectacular white gravel roads of Tuscany this Saturday.

Healy has ridden the race before – making his debut two years ago when he was a non-finisher in what was his neo pro season with his current team.

However, while Megan Armitage had been pencilled in to ride the women’s race for EF Education-Cannondale, she is not named in the team set to line out in the race into Siena.

While Healy is aiming to peak for the Ardennes Classics, he has already shown some very good form of late, and appears to have been improving day by day in recent weeks.

Healy began his season at Etoile de Bessèges (2.1), where he took 4th in the final TT, a result that lifted him to a final 4th place position in the general classification.

The 23-year-old, who was a breakout rider last season when he won a brilliant stage at Giro d’Italia, also finished 4th overall at Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta (2.Pro) two weeks ago.

He put up a very big performance on the final stage, going clear with Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma) and getting across to the early breakaway. Healy then pushed on again, ultimately going solo onto the final climb.

And though he was caught by the select group – containing race leader Remco Evenepoel (Soudal QuickStep) – on that final climb, he had the legs to hang in.

He finished 8th on that stage to Alto do Malhāo, and that ensured he moved up in the general classification to 4th. If he has the legs this Saturday that he displayed in Portugal on that final stage he may have a big say in Strade Bianche.

The race is longer this year – jumping from 184km to 215km – due to an extra lap being added close to the finish, which goes over the Colle Pinzuto and Le Tolfe gravel sectors. There are 15 sectors in total, four more than before, making for 71.5km on gravel tracks through the race.

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