Giro d’Italia star Ben O’Connor signs for AG2R Citröen

Daniel@cyclingnews.com
·2-min read
 LAGHI DI CANCANO ITALY  OCTOBER 22 Start  Ben Oconnor of Australia and NTT Pro Cycling Team  Team Presentation  during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 18 a 207km stage from Pinzolo to Laghi di Cancano  Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio 1945m  girodiitalia  Giro  on October 22 2020 in Laghi di Cancano Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images
LAGHI DI CANCANO ITALY OCTOBER 22 Start Ben Oconnor of Australia and NTT Pro Cycling Team Team Presentation during the 103rd Giro dItalia 2020 Stage 18 a 207km stage from Pinzolo to Laghi di Cancano Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio 1945m girodiitalia Giro on October 22 2020 in Laghi di Cancano Italy Photo by Stuart FranklinGetty Images

AG2R La Mondiale, the French squad that will be named AG2R Citröen in 2021, have signed Ben O’Connor for next season.

The Australian, who has been in three consecutive mountain breaks in the Giro d’Italia, finish second on the stage to San Daniele del Friuli and then won a maiden Grand Tour stage the following day at Madonna di Campiglio. He has been a rare ray of light for his current team, NTT Pro Cycling, and AG2R have recognized that by picking up the 24-year-old on a one-year deal.

"I am very excited to start with AG2R Citröen team. It will give me the chance to discover a new culture, new teammates, a different way of racing. I know very little about France, apart from a holiday in the Alps with my parents, but I know that the AG2R Citröen Team is one of the teams in the peloton with the deepest history.

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"I know it's going to be very rewarding and I’ll have the opportunity to improve by riding with such experienced riders. I am also happy to continue riding a BMC," O’Connor said in a press release issued by his future team.

"With the arrival of Citroën, I know that the team has great ambitions for the future, and I am proud to be part of it. I have proven that I can win in the UCI WorldTour, now I want to improve in stage races, be more consistent and take more victories."

O’Connor joined the WorldTour in 2017 as part of Dimension Data. In 2018 he made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia and was sitting in 12th place until a crash took him out of the race on stage 19. He struggled to match that level in 2019 but has bounced back this autumn with a string of impressive results.

"We had been in contact with Ben O’Connor for two years," said AG2R's long-time boss Vincent Lavenu.

"His profile as a climber was of great interest to us and he really has the strengths we were looking for. He is not yet 25 years old and has already confirmed his potential with his stage victory in the Giro as well as his good overall performance. He is certainly a top reinforcement for the team."