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by Dane Cash
October 24, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
It’s been a busy week for Ben O’Connor. On Wednesday, the 24-year-old Australian rode to his first ever Grand Tour stage win, and NTT’s first since 2018, on stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia. On Friday, it was announced that he had signed a contract to join the AG2R-Citroën team next season 2021.
“We had been in contact with Ben O’Connor for two years,” team manager Vincent Lavenu said in a press release. “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.”
O’Connor has been a member of the NTT organization since joining what was then Dimension Data in 2017 after some promising results at the Continental level with Avanti IsoWhey Sport. During his time with NTT, he has delivered a handful of strong results in stage races, winning stages at the Tour of Austria, the Tour of the Alps, and Etoile des Bessèges and scoring top 10s at the Tour of Taiwain, Tour de Langkawi, and Tour of the Alps before his impressive Giro stage win at Madonna di Campiglio earlier this week.
He will join AG2R next season on a one-year deal, bringing new climbing talent to a team that his bidding adieu to Romain Bardet and Pierre Latour.
“I am very excited to start with AG2R Citroën Team. It will give me the chance to discover a new culture, new teammates, a different way of racing,” O’Connor said. “I know very little about France, apart from a holiday in the Alps with my parents, but I know that the AG2R Citroën Team is one of the teams in the peloton with the deepest history.
“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. 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.”