"I was 4th in the Tour a few years ago so I have performed before" - Ben O'Connor reasserts himself as Grand Tour threat despite missing Giro podium

Narrowly missing out on the podium at the 2024 Giro d'Italia, Ben O'Connor was forced to settle for 4th having been unable to assert any pressure on those above him in the final week. Despite this disappointment, it has nevertheless been a positive three weeks.

“I ended up where I deserved to finish,” O’Connor told Eurosport after the stage 21 finale in Rome saw Tim Merlier sprint to a third stage win of the race ahead of Jonathan Milan. “Daniel Martinez (2nd ed.) was really strong the whole way throughout the race, Geraint Thomas (3rd ed.) was also pretty consistent, I just had a couple of bad days towards the end,”

In the end, the 28-year-old Australian finished 1:37 off the podium. “I can’t be disappointed because I gave my best and I think I actually did some really good performances throughout the race that I’m really proud of, the second time trial in particular and yesterday, because yesterday was a proper day and if you look at just a physical number point of view it was very, very solid," he reflects with content.

This also marks something a return to form at Grand Tours for O'Connor who has been vocally disappointed with his recent three-week efforts. “Both the last two Tour de Frances haven’t been ideal but I was 8th in the Vuelta and 4th in the Tour a few years ago so I have performed before, sometimes just Larry luck or just chance decides to strike itself,” he says. “But to put it together, a whole race, it’s really fulfilling because it’s been a while since I’ve done that at a Grand Tour and I think I needed to do that to show both the team and myself, that’s the rider I would like and want to be.”

A big positive for O'Connor though, was the strength of his Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team, continuing their impressive start to 2024. “For this team it’s probably their best Giro ever and definitely the best Giro I’ve been a part of,” O'Connor concludes with pride. “We’ve had two stage wins, we won the teams class, I was fourth overall, and I think people saw us racing and even on the opportunistic days our guys were always on the cards, Aurélien [Paret-Peintre], Andrea [Vendrame], Valentin [Paret-Peintre], we were always there, and that’s what we can be the most proud of.”

Place comments



More comments

You are currently seeing only the comments you are notified about, if you want to see all comments from this post, click the button below.

Show all comments