Ben O’Connor achieved the biggest result of his career in Meran as he soloed to an emphatic win in stage 3 of the Tour of the Alps.
With most of the sport’s big names all in the race, including our own Louis Meintjes, with the Giro d’Italia just weeks away; O’Connor, who had already ridden to an impressive 8th in stage two, certainly made his mark.
After being in a break of five and then four riders, the racing really intensified with under 30km to go. Contact was gradually made but the larger group with the break on the long descent from around 20kms to go. But as they were coming together, the likes of Thibault Pinot, Luis Leon Sanchez, Chris Froome, Fabio Aru and George Bennett, the young Australian attacked almost immediately.
For a number of kilometres that gap hovered at around 200m but such was O’Connor’s strength on the day that he was able to enjoy the moment crossing the line alone, his hand spread in the salute to the Qhubeka charity.
What a day for the young man from Perth for only his second victory after winning stage five of the Tour of Austria in 2017.
That result also sees him move into 8th position on the GC up from 15th position.
Ben O’Connor – Rider
“It’s just great to now be able to race with the best and to manage to pull that off is surreal.
“I’ve gradually built up the form pretty well. In Catalunya I was alright, then to come here and be just another step further is super, super pleasing. I just want to be the best rider I can be.”