Ben Healy affected by illness in world championships time trial

‘I was actually physically throwing up. It was just one of those days to forget, really’

Ireland’s world road championships campaign continued on Monday with the participation of two riders in the under-23 time trial. Ben Healy and Kevin McCambridge competed in the 30.3 kilometre solo test to Bruges, with Healy struggling through illness to place 31st and McCambridge netting 39th.

The Danish rider Johan Price-Pejtersen (Denmark) was fastest, beating Luke Plapp (Australia) by 10 seconds and Florian Vermeersch of Belgium by 11.

“I’m pretty gutted to be honest,” Healy said. “People who have been around me and people who help me know how much I have put into this. I just didn’t perform because I picked up a bit of an illness a few days ago. On the course I didn’t have any legs and on the second half I was actually physically throwing up. It was just one of those days to forget, really.”

Darren Rafferty and Conal Skully are next to compete, riding the junior men’s time trial on Tuesday afternoon. Rafferty has been in superb form this season, winning a number of amateur races in France, and recently finished fourth - and just two seconds off a medal - in the junior European championships time trial in Trento, Italy, on September 8th.


These performances helped him secure a contract with the American Hagens Berman Axeon squad for 2022.

If Rafferty can build on his Europeans form, he could be a medal contender in Tuesday’s time trial, or in the junior men’s road race on Friday morning. That will be the first of five road race events the Irish team will contest between Friday and Sunday.

Healy will compete in the Under-23 men’s road race on Friday, alongside Dillon Corkery and Adam Ward. He has shown strong form this season, winning a stage of the Giro Bio in June, and believes that he can be a contender if he recovers from his illness.

“I know the form was there before this, so hopefully another few days rest before the road race will sort me out,” he said. “The road race is quite steady to start with so hopefully that will be a good bit of an opener to get me into it and hopefully I will be able to get stuck in when the race starts to kick off.”

McCambridge won’t ride the road race, but will instead return to Ireland for the national road championship. He is targeting the time trial on September 30th and is ambitious about his chances. “It’s one of my biggest goals of the year so I’ll hopefully perform on the day and everything goes right.

UCI Road World Championships, Flanders, Belgium (19th-26th September)

Remaining events and Irish competitors:

Tuesday: Junior Men’s Time Trial - Darren Rafferty, Conal Skully.

Friday: Junior Men’s Road Race - Darren Rafferty, Ronan O’Connor, Conal Skully, Dean Harvey; Under-23 Men’s Road Race - Ben Healy, Dillon Corkery, Adam Ward.

Saturday: Junior Women’s Road Race - Erin Grace Creighton, Aoife O’Brien; Elite Women’s Road Race - Megan Armitage.

Sunday: Elite Men’s Road Race - Sam Bennett, Eddie Dunbar, Rory Townsend, Ryan Mullen.

World road race championships, Belgium: Under-23 time trial, Knokke-Heist to Bruges: 1 Johan Price-Pejtersen (Denmark) 30.3 kilometres in 34 mins 29, 2 L Plapp (Australia) at 10, 3 F Vermeersch (Belgium) at 11, 4 S Waerenskjold (Norway) at 13, 5 M Van Dijke (Netherlands) at 24 .

Other: 31 B Healy (Ireland) at 1 min 59, 39 K McCambridge (Ireland) at 2 mins 13.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling