Ben Healy (EF Education EasyPost) put in a superb performance on the hilly stage 3 of the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg, soloing to victory and taking over the overall lead in the race. He attacked with 34km remaining to bridge to the Frenchman Bastin Tronchon (AG2R Citroën), later dropping him and reaching the line 15 seconds ahead of Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) and 18 ahead of Dylan Teuns (Israel – Premier Tech).
Archie Ryan shone in his guest slot with the Jumbo-Visma WorldTour team, being one of the strongest of the chasers and netting sixth, 37 seconds behind Healy, and ahead of many established professionals. He is just 21 years of age and will turn pro next year with Healy’s EF Education EasyPost team.
“We had two cards to play with me and Richard [team-mate Richard Carapaz],” Healy said. “Going long for me is my strength, and we could use Richard behind if I got caught back. I just had the legs today to make it stick, so Richard didn’t have to do anything.”
He jumped up 33 places in the general classification to take over the race lead, and ended the day 19 seconds clear of Hirschi.
Ryan improves 24 places to 24th overall.
The 2.Pro-ranked national tour continues on Saturday with the penultimate stage, a 23.9km individual time trial. The discipline is one of Healy’s fortes and he said he is feeling good about his chances.
“Now it is just about trying to hold on to this jersey. I am pretty confident in my TT. I have a nice buffer as well going into tomorrow.”
In the Netherlands Darren Rafferty was best of the Irish in the Under-23 men’s road race at the European Championships on Friday, but will be frustrated with a 20th place finish after negative racing by the bunch forced him to burn up extra energy.
The 136.5km event featured a very strong long range attack by eventual winner Henrik Pedersen (Denmark) and runner-up Iván Romeo (Spain). The peloton never committed to the chase and while Rafferty tried to bridge alone, he was brought back and finished 47 seconds off the gold medal.
Lara Gillespie was best of the Irish in the Under-23 women’s road race, placing 25th, 38 seconds behind the winner Ilse Pluimers (Netherlands).
Caoimhe O’Brien was 49th, 4′24 back, with her younger sister Aoife coming back from two early crashes and ultimately finishing 81st, 8′49 behind.