Giro d’Italia Pro Bike: Ben Healy’s aero, tie-dye Cannondale Supersix Evo Lab71

Is this the coolest paint job in the peloton?

If you’ve been following the WorldTour peloton in the opening stages of the 2023 season, you would have heard the name Ben Healy. The 22-year-old rider has been in imperious form so far this year with two second places and a fourth place during the Ardennes classics, as well as a stage win already in the Giro d’Italia. With his attacking style and aggressive aerodynamic position, Healy is unmissable in the bunch (this is helped, naturally, by EF Education-EasyPost’s outlandish Giro d’Italia switch out kit.) 

The Irish rider has been riding on a mix of bikes at the Giro d’Italia this year, opting for the more aerodynamic Cannondale SystemSix model on the flatter stages (this is the bike he rode to victory on stage 8) and using the lighter SuperSix when the race heads deeper into the mountains. On stage 15 to Bergamo, when Healy narrowly missed out on another stage win to Brandon McNulty, he was using the SuperSix Evo Lab71 model which was released by Cannondale earlier this year.

Upon launching the new SuperSix Evo, Cannondale said the bike was more aerodynamic than the previous iteration due to its dropped seatstays, reshaped front fork and additional space between the fork and wheel. It is also said to be significantly lighter than the SystemSix model which Healy has also been riding – a top-spec Dura-Ace LAB71 SuperSix in 56cm is claimed to come in on the UCI weight limit of 6.8 kilos while Cannondale’s aero model, the SystemSix, comes in at a total claimed weight of 7.7kg. This is a significant difference, especially at the professional level when riders are looking for incremental gains in the mountains.

The LAB71 sticker on Healy’s SuperSix Evo connotes Cannondale’s most premium build option, it features the brand’s Series 0 Carbon which is said to be a higher grade than that found in any of Cannondale’s other offerings. The paint work on Healy’s SuperSix is a special edition for this year’s Giro d’Italia, designed to match the pink, yellow, navy and green of the team’s kit. The designers have used a stunning tie-dye effect across the downtube and into the rear of the bike while keeping the forks and seat tube in the team’s traditional black and pink colourway.

The Cannondale SuperSix Evo features a port which can hold the battery for the older Shimano Di2 or for mechanical cables.

Healy's bike had Elite bottle cages and Cannondale's 100% compostable bottles. Made from plant-derived materials, cap and bottle body of Cannondale’s bidons are compostable, free from plasticisers, heavy metals and BPAs, making them both human and eco-friendly.

Healy is a rider known to search for aerodynamic gains that can make a difference during one of his signature long-range attacks and his position at the front of his bike is undoubtedly a reflection of this. He has opted to not use an integrated cockpit, instead using narrow 38cm handlebars and a -17 stem to lower his centre of gravity and search for those aero advantages. While not fully slammed, Healy’s position is still very low, he looks to have approximately 20mm of spacers below his bars. His bike also featured a standard Wahoo mount and interestingly what looks like the older iteration of the Wahoo Elemnt Roam, but this could have just been the computer put on by team staff when our photographer took the bike to be pictured.

The hoods on Healy’s Vision Metron aero handlebars are tilted inwards, presumably to allow Healy to get as low as possible while remaining in his signature position which is tucked down low on the hoods. His bike also featured Prologo handlebar tape on the drops only.

When it comes to gearing combination, Healy is using what looks like an 11-32 cassette on the rear of the bike and a 54/40t chainring combination at the front. While he uses a Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 groupset, Healy is using FSA chainrings – a company also owned by Vision – and a Power2Max power meter. His bike also had Speedplay Zero aero pedals, another small aerodynamic advantage for Healy as the low stack height on this type of pedal is another way to lower a rider’s position on the bike.

The wheels on Healy’s bike are the Vision Metron model in a 60mm rim depth, though he did actually look to be using a slightly shallower model in the recent stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia, presumably to save weight in the mountains. His bike also had the Vittoria Corsa Pro tyres in 28mm, recently released as some of the first cotton tubeless tyres on the market. They are said to have an extremely smooth ride feel.

Healy’s bike had a Prologo Dimension saddle which is said to support a rider’s natural pelvic rotation, something that will be necessary for Healy to hold his aerodynamic position whereby he sits far forward on the saddle. His bike also features a 3D-printed number mount on the seat post.

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