O’Connor aims for the success of the Dauphiné | Criterium du Dauphiné 2022

Watch the Critérium du Dauphiné LIVE and FREE on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand with the start of Stage 1 Sunday evening from 9:05 p.m. (AEST).
Following his success in the Tour de France, O’Connor said there was a lot of improvement in him, as well as many improvements needed if he was to take his career to the pinnacle of victory in the Tour de France. Grand Tour. The West Australian was delighted with Jai Hindley’s win at the Giro d’Italia, with the pair often competing at junior level while developing.
“It was heartening to see my friend Jai Hindley win the Giro,” O’Connor said. “He’s also from Perth and we’ve known each other for a long time. When I saw him win I thought I could do it too.
“My Tour adventure last year was extraordinary and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what happened. Winning a stage and finishing fourth overall in Paris is something huge. And I did! But of course you always want to do better.

“That’s why you become an athlete and why you have to invest so much in this work. So I changed my mind compared to last year and I feel capable of aiming for the top this summer.

O’Connor’s successes came in spurts earlier in his career, but his maturation as a full-time GC driver since his move to AG2R-Citroën has allowed the 26-year-old driver to discover the consistency worthy of big names regularly part of the general. ranking battle in races. He has two victories to his name this season, a stage in the Volta a Catalunya which propelled him to the front of the race, and a one-day race, the Tour du Jura.
He did not finish below seventh place overall in the stage races, with the exception of Paris-Nice where he retired mid-race due to illness.
“I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve been riding so far, but it could have been even better,” O’Connor said. “For example, I was fifth in the Tour de Romandie but I felt that I could have finished on the podium, and why not win if everything had gone better.
“However, you can’t say that I changed much in my way of riding or in my training. I just gain in maturity, I continue to develop physically and my level goes up naturally. I’m 26 and the years of hard work are starting to pay off.

“My body is adapting to the demands of these races and responding better and better to very ambitious goals. I also become more confident. I was hoping to become an overall rider. Now I am an overall rider.

O’Connor continued his series of fortuitous victories on stages that end in ski resorts, four of his seven victories as a professional came in ski resorts, with a victory at La Molina, jumping from one impressive field and holding them back to the line of the Volta a Catalunya. The West Australian has revealed the significance of this moment as he recovers from having to pull out of Paris-Nice two weeks earlier.
“On Paris-Nice, I was both very proud and very disappointed,” said O’Connor. “I had to give up the race because I got sick but there was no doubt that the form was there. So when I arrived at Volta a Catalunya, I wanted revenge.

“And when I won the La Molina stage, I had the validation I was waiting for and that all the work I put in during the winter paid off. In terms of confidence, of course, it is one of the important days of this year.

O’Connor has just completed a three-week block of altitude training in Sierra Nevada and has ambitions to achieve something he has yet to do at WorldTour level when he takes to the start line in Le Dauphiné .
“The time has come to go for a podium in a major event on the world circuit,” said O’Connor. “It would be my first and I know it is now possible for me to win these kinds of races.”
The varied route of the Critérium du Dauphiné seems to lend itself to attackers and breakaways early in the race, with some serious climbs in the Alps to end the proceedings. O’Connor also stressed the importance of the flat 31.9 kilometer stage 4 time trial.
“I have a few ideas in mind but, for example, I’m not sure we should push on the Sancy stage. It’s definitely a challenge but the last climb isn’t steep enough to make a big difference. On the other hand, the time trial will be crucial. I haven’t done much this year and I can’t wait to see where I am in that regard.
“I believe the days when climbers were inevitably bad on flat roads are over. I can also do well in time trials.
O’Connor will need his full strength as he will fight with a strong field for the overall win, with fellow Australians like Jack Haig (Bahrain-Victorious), Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers) and Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ ), joined by an impressive group of pre-race contenders including Primož Roglič, Jonas Vingaard (both Jumbo-Visma), Juan Ayuso, Brandon McNulty (both UAE Team Emirates), Enric Mas (Movistar), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana-Qazaqstan), Wilco Kelderman (BORA-hansgrohe), Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers), Pello Bilbao and Damiano Caruso (both Bahrain-Victorious).

Watch the Critérium du Dauphiné LIVE and FREE on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand with the start of Stage 1 Sunday evening from 9:05 p.m. (AEST).


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