Ben O’Connor (AG2-Citröen) headlined a notable efficiency for Australia on the Criterium du Dauphiné, because the rider from Perth repeated his 2022 end of third total forward of Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious).
Hindley is presently constructing his type in the direction of a Tour de France, debut whereas Haig has simply accomplished the Giro d’Italia, ending nineteenth on GC regardless of struggling numerous crashes that knocked him out of the general battle, however clearly with one thing left within the tank.
O’Connor’s third place total units him up properly for the Tour de France, the place he took a breakthrough fourth place total and a stage win in 2021. However previous to July, the Australian expressed his pleasure at claiming a podium spot for the second 12 months working in his staff’s ‘residence race.’
Nonetheless, he additionally warned that defending Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard’s efficiency within the eight-day race, profitable two levels and the general, positioned the Jumbo-Visma in a Dauphiné class of his personal when it got here to build up for the summer time.
Relating to his third place total, which got here partly courtesy of one in every of his strongest ever time trials final week, the place he took fifth, O’Connor mentioned: “I’m simply proud, actually, to be trustworthy. I’m actually proud of the boys and the boldness from the staff, they backed me since my up and down interval for the reason that begin of the 12 months.
“Within the race you’ll be able to take away that numerous us are in fairly comparable type and actually not far aside on our ranges, besides Jonas.
“So it’s form of cool – not a lot you understand you’re combating for, however you’re positively conscious of the way you’ll method the race, particularly the Tour de France. As a result of if Jonas is racing like this – good luck!”
“We may be very glad with Ben’s end result, as a result of if you happen to’re not at an excellent stage right here, then on the Tour the challenges are even more durable,” added staff supervisor Vincent Lavenu. “So ending third within the Dauphine is something however trivial, it’s an excellent efficiency, and much more in order that Ben has repeated the identical end result as final 12 months. Even after shedding a climber, Geoffrey [Bouchard] due to a crash, the remainder of the staff actually stepped as much as again Ben within the mountains.”
Bora-Hansgrohe had been equally glad with Hindley’s fourth place in his Dauphiné debut, which additionally included a 3rd place on the hardest mountain stage to the the Croix de Fer on Saturday. The Australian’s profitable race got here regardless of his staff line-up primarily consisting of sprinters and all-rounders so not in a position to present him with a lot cowl within the mountains.
“Sadly, I couldn’t take a podium in the long run however total I’m proud of my race,” Hindley mentioned in an announcement launched by his staff. “Wanting on the Tour de France I’m the place I wished to be in the intervening time, with nonetheless just a few weeks to go. I’m heading again to an altitude camp earlier than I take just a few days of relaxation at residence forward of the Grand Départ in Bilbao.”
Final however not least, if Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) offered a below-expectations efficiency following his super-consistent spring and previous to heading to the Tour de France, his teammate Haig rounded off his first half of the season with a fifth place total.
Whereas Haig mentioned he was “actually glad” along with his end result, Landa, twenty second, insisted that he remained on monitor for july.
“Earlier than coming I knew I wasn’t in the perfect of form, however I actually wanted this race to get myself into prime situation forward of the Tour de France,” Landa, twice fourth total within the Tour, defined.
“It was a tough week, I suffered rather a lot, however total, I feel I’ve achieved a great job, and it’ll set me up for the Tour.
“I’m additionally joyful for Jack. He did an excellent job, and the staff had been motivated to help him, so total it’s been a great week for the staff.”