Ben Healy up to seventh overall in Tour de l’Avenir

Matthew Teggart and Caoimhe O’Brien win John Beggs Memorial

Ben Healy moved up up to seventh overall in Tour de l’Avenir. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ben Healy moved up up to seventh overall in Tour de l’Avenir. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Ben Healy progressed up the classification in the Tour de l’Avenir in France on Saturday, improving from his overnight position of 10th to a fine seventh overall.

The Irish road-race champion rolled in as part of the main bunch at the end of an undulating 161.2 kilometre stage to Soissons. He didn’t engage in the bunch sprint won by Søren Wærenskjold (Norway), who won Friday’s prologue time-trial and tightened his grip on the leader’s jersey.

Healy was 83rd, while Liam Curley finished close to him in 91st. Two other riders from the Ireland team, Kevin McCambridge and JB Murphy, were 53 seconds back.

Wærenskjold continues to head the general classification. Healy jumps three places to seventh overall and remains nine seconds back. Curley is 99th.

Healy has previously shone in the event, which is regarded as a youth version of the Tour de France. Two years ago he became the youngest winner of a stage, taking the fifth leg of the race at just 18 years of age. He underlined that talent with first and second on stages of the Ronde de l’Isard in 2020, as well as first, second and third on stages of this summer’s Ciclistico d’Italia in June. That consistency saw him net second in the points classification and finish 12th overall.

He has been linked to a possible step up to the professional ranks for 2022, and will seek to excel in the French stage race. His chances for a high overall classification finish will however depend on how well the Ireland team cope in Sunday’s 26.8 kilometre team time-trial in Laon.

Meanwhile, Matthew Teggart and Caoimhe O’Brien were best in round three of Cycling Ireland’s national road series on Saturday, winning the men’s and women’s John Beggs memorial races in County Down.

Teggart was strongest in a bunch sprint to the line in Dromore, finishing well ahead of Lindsay Watson (Powerhouse Sport), John Buller (Amicale Cycliste Bisontine) and Luke Smith (Moynalty CC) in the sprint to the line. In doing so, he joined his grandfather Noel, father Neil and uncle David Gardiner as winners of the event.

The women’s race also came down to a sprint from a small group, with O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar), Fiona Mangan (Club Ciclista Ataraxia), O’Brien’s junior category sister Aoife (also Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar) and Darcey Harkness (VC Glendale) crossing the line in that order.

Daire Feeley finished sixth after some early bad luck, but had the consolation of taking over the lead of the men’s national road series. Mangan continues to lead the women’s series.

Tour de l’Avenir, France (2.NCup)

Stage 1, Charleville-Mézières to Soissons: 1 Søren Wærenskjold (Norway) 161.2 kilometres in 3 hours 57 mins 15, 2 L Colnaghi (Italy), 3 A Laurance (France), 4 P Bittner (Czech Republic), 5 N Gomez (Colombia), 6 F Baroncini (Italy) all same time

Other: 83 B Healy (Ireland), 91 L Curley (Ireland) both same time, 115 K McCambridge (Ireland) at 53 secs, 116 JB Murphy (Ireland) same time, 137 A Ward (Ireland) at 4 mins 48, 154 D Corkery (Ireland) same time

Overall classification after stage 1: 1 Søren Wærenskjold (Norway) 3 hours 55 mins 49, 2 M Van Dijke (Netherlands) at 4, 3 E Vernon (Great Britain) at 7, 4 M Heßmann (Germany) at 8, 5 L Plapp (Australia) at 8, 6 C Van Uden (Netherlands) at 9

Other: 7 B Healy (Ireland) at 9, 99 L Curley (Ireland) at 53, 114 K McCambridge (Ireland) at 1 min 17, 116 JB Murphy (Ireland) at 1 min 20, 140 D Corkery (Ireland) at 5 mins 13, 146 A Ward (Ireland) at 5 mins 24

John Beggs Memorial, Dromore:

A1-A2-Junior event: 1 Matthew Teggart (Velo Club Villefranche Beaujolais), 2 L Watson (Powerhouse Sport), 3 J Buller (Amicale Cycliste Bisontine), 4 L Smith (Moynalty CC), 5 D Moore (Team Caldwell Cycles), 6 D Feeley (All Human/ Velo Revolation Racing Team), 7 A Wade (Powerhouse Sport), 8 C McCann (Inspired Cycling)

Juniors: 1 Jamie Meehan (VC Glendale), 2 A Ryan (Orwell Wheelers CC), 3 D Harvey (VC Glendale), 4 S Owens (Fisher Team Caldwell Cycles), 5 C Gallagher (Errigal CC)

Women’s race: 1 Caoimhe O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar), 2 F Mangan (Club Ciclista Ataraxia), 3 A O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar), 4 D Harkness (VC Glendale), 5 B Woods (All Human/ Velo Revolution Racing team), 6 H Foley (Yeats Country Cycling Club), 7 S Bird (Ballymena Road Club), 8 C McCarthy (Blarney Cycling Club)

Junior women: 1 Aoife O’Brien (Torelli-Assure-Cayman Islands-Scimitar), 2, A Tyler (McConvey Cycles)

A3 race: 1 Steven McAllister (Ballymoney CC), 2 M Hoare (Unattached), 3 G Rodgers (Dromore CC), 4 S Irvine (Crossgar CC), 5 S Laverty (Ballymoney CC)

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