"I tried but didn’t have legs" - Ben O'Connor gutted not to end Tour Down Under with a stage win

As Ben O'Connor crossed the finish line having to settle for a third-placed finish on Stage 5 of the Tour Down Under, the Australian knew his chance to end an underwhelming week on a high had been and gone.

"I’ll be happier later but I’m just a little disappointed that I didn’t win," O’Connor told Cycling News in the immediate aftermath of the stage finish. "I’ll reflect on the stage later and perhaps be happy. This ride is much more like my level compared to the stage over Corkscrew Road. Today is the kind of racing that suits me more, where there’s hard racing all day, rather than pure watts per kilo numbers in one effort. I was close to the win, so it hurts."

In truth, O'Connor had a relatively disappointing five days in Australia. The AG2R Citroen Team's 27-year-old saw his hopes of a podium finish ride off into the distance on Stage 3 as O'Connor failed to match the levels shown by Jay Vine, Simon Yates and Pello Bilbao.

Despite eventually finishing in 6th position in the general classification, O'Connor admits he's trying to put a positive spin on the race. "This is the first time I’ve ever raced well in the Tour Down Under, so there are some firsts there too," he reveals. "It is a great way to start the year, I know that."

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