Ben O’Connor on front foot in crosswinds at Tirreno-Adriatico
Ben O’Connor can drive Tirreno-Adriatico for the first time but the AG2R Citroën rider was still ahead in crosswinds on stage 3, making his presence visible among all the competitors even before the Italian race entered climbing territory.
The stage to Foligno might have ended up with a group sprint, but Primož Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma team lowered the hammer with about 12km to go and with only ten kilometers left, a wedge was driven into the splits, with both Roglic and O’ Connor featured prominently among the first leading group of 13. Many opponents in the overall standings had nervous moments, for example, race leader Filippo Ganna and Adam Yates (UAE team) quickly fought their way back, while the group further extended about five kilometers as the peloton closed in.
“It might not have been the right scene for me, but it was tough at the end with crosswinds and I was able to be there after playing a bit with the first band, but it all came back,” O’Connor said after the performance. . “It didn’t really matter at the end, but it’s better to always be ahead, not behind.”
The group re-formed at the four kilometer mark and Jasper Philipsen (Alpesin-Deckeninck) raced to victory, breaking away from the helm of teammate Matthieu van der Poel’s excellent lead. O’Connor finished the peloton 16th in the overall classification, which had so far been largely determined by the opening individual time trial.
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O’Connor is currently 52 seconds behind lead rider Ganna, who is expected to fight in the next stages of the climb, but is only 24 seconds behind second-placed Lennard Kamn (Bora-Hansgrohe) and is within three seconds behind Roglic, who finished eleventh.
“I’m definitely fine and it’s more important today that I don’t waste time,” O’Connor said. Cycling news. “It would be great if I scored a little, but that’s the way it is. But I really want to get rid of those sprint finishes, they’re pretty scary.”
The last two stages were the final ones, and in the final section there was a series of turns that added tension. stage 3, but now climbing will go through the following three stages. Stage 4 provides a hilltop finish at Tortoreto, then stage 5 includes 3,800 meters of climb on its way to the finish line at the top of Valico di Santa Maria Maddalena, and stage 6 includes five classified climbs before reaching the line at Osimo. Sprinters are unlikely to get another opportunity before the final round at San Benedetto del Tronto.
“Today, I think it was all about technique and luck and a little bit of power,” O’Connor said. some good endings.”
Even without winning a minute in the split in Stage 3, the Australian, who finished fourth overall at the 2021 Tour de France, appears to have made the right decision by switching from Paris-Nice to his first start. Tyrrhenian-Adriatic instead of. His presence in the traffic on Stage 3 meant he started the race on his front foot, where AG2R CitroenA 1:27 lag in the team race at the Paris-Nice circuit would have left him on a losing streak ahead of the climb stages in France.
“We are not team test specialists… that’s why I’m here in Tirreno,” O’Connor said. “I think I could do well here.”