Aussie Focus

Familiar surroundings help O'Connor take back fifth on GC

Australian Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroen) showed his climbing prowess again in stage 15 of the Tour de France, staying with the best GC contenders through to the finish as he moved back up to fifth overall.

O'Connor managed to get himself into the top group with overall leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) and Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) as they made their way up the category 1 Col de Beixalis before the descent to the finish in Andorre-la-Vielle.

The 25-year-old went on the attack in an attempt to distance himself at the front, but paid for it moments later as he was dropped but managed to recover on the descent and finish within the group, eliminating any potential time losses as Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) took the stage win.

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Another fighting performance reminiscent of his effort on the Mont Ventoux despite cracking in Stage 11, O'Connor continues to show that he belongs among the best of the best in his debut Tour as he revealed he had a leg up on the rest of the competition when they reached the final climb.

“I knew the last climb very well because I don't live very far away and I often come to the area for picnics or barbecues," O'Connor said after the stage. 

"I knew the descent was very technical. I had good feelings and I'm proud to fight with the best riders in the general classification, ”said Ben O'Connor.

Originally from Western Australia, living in Andorra has surely helped O'Connor become the outstanding climber he is today, who can dominate the very best in the sport like he did in his solo stage 8 victory in the Alps.

With more mountains to come as the Tour winds through the Pyrenees, and fresh legs after a rest day at home, O'Connor will be up there in the mix again as he looks to make another push for the maillot jaune and put the heat on Pogačar.

The Tour de France has a rest day tomorrow, but will recommence with a medium mountains stage from Pas de le Case to Saint Gaudens. Watch the race on Tuesday from 2030 AEST on SBS and SBS OnDemand with the race action starting on the SKODA Tour Tracker at 2055 AEST


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2 min read
Published 12 July 2021 at 5:46am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS