New found consistency driving Aussie O'Connor to Dauphine success

Aussie Ben O’Connor says an offseason move to French team AG2R-Citroen has given his career a kickstart and is determined to prove it with a top ten finish at the Criterium Du Dauphine.

The 25-year-old rider revealed in an interview with Cycling News that his offseason change of scenery has helped him find a level of consistency which he says he had been lacking throughout his career to date.

After four years with Dimension Data/NTT Pro Cycling, O’Connor’s move to AG2R came as a shock to many.
However, a 12th place finish at the Paris-Nice and a sixth at the Tour de Romandie has shown the Perth born rider’s decision is already paying off.

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I used to be kind of a one-shot wonder. I'd do something amazing and then disappear, so it's nice that things have come together a bit more this season," O’Connor said.



“Maybe it's just that I'm maturing a little bit, or that racing's becoming a bit more habitual and you kind of get into the flow of positioning yourself in the bunch, of managing training and knowing how much to do, and also of reining yourself back in.

"I think this year's seen a bit of a change in terms of my development. I think it's taken a good turn, obviously. The results have been a lot more consistent than they used to be. And I guess the stability of the team really does help a little bit with your forward-thinking too."

Going into Wednesday’s fourth stage, O’Connor is sitting in 25th in the general classification but is only 24 seconds behind race leader Lukas Postlberger.

With a star-studded supporting cast at AG2R including Greg van Avermaet and Oliver Naesen, the Aussie is confident he can finish towards the top of the standings.

"Another top 10 here is the goal. The sun's out and the heat can always take a toll on you sometimes in the first few days you're exposed to it again, but there's no reason why I can't make the top 10, especially with La Plagne as the penultimate stage finish," he said.

"It's a big climb and I always do well on the big, big climbs. It should be exciting."

O’Connor also revealed he will make his Tour de France debut later this month and says he hopes a strong Dauphine performance will set him up for success at La Grande Boucle.

"Obviously, the official team isn't out yet, but it's nice to know that you're going to be going there and that you have a commitment from the team, especially with a French team. So I'm proud of that and hope to make the start line. Then I'll try to do what I've been doing for all the races this year," he said.

"Obviously, it's the biggest race in the world. I've never done it before, but I know that the stress will be at another level, especially on the first couple of days in Brittany. I just figure if things don't work out as you hope, you can always go for a stage win." 


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3 min read
Published 2 June 2021 at 2:13pm
Source: SBS