Ben O'Connor: Baby face becomes conqueror

Born as Ben Alexander O'Connor in Subiaco (Perth), Australia, in 1995, meaning he's now 25 years old. This guy needs a thread, since he's going to rule the world.
There's a lovely interview from 2019 with him here, where he talks about living in Spain as an Australian, his face, goji-berries and nutrition problems and how he found his position.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yCSw1_HJp0


He was then with Dimension Data, but this year he switched to AG2R. His results have been interesting, but not outstanding for some time, and last year he won a stage at the Giro (up to Madonna di Campiglio). But I feel 2021 will be a very important year for him. On the Thyon 2000 stage in the Romandie he was second, right now he's doing the Dauphiné and after that he will do the Tour for the first time.

English Wiki-page:
PCS data:

Watch him become a grown-up cyclist this year!

 
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Jun 3, 2021
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Watching him try and try again in the Giro last year was one of my highlights. Did ok in the Dauphine TT yesterday too.

Would love to see him get a good result.
 
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His performance in the Giro 2018 (sadly interrupted by the crash in the Finestre stage) led me to believe he was going to be the next big thing in Australian cycling. He was fighting for a top10 in his debut GT, and a very tough one.

But then he stalled. 2019 was a very meh year for him, he struggled to find the shape for a long time. I was happy to see him come back at the Giro last year and finally win a stage. He was still lacking the consistency he seems to have gained in 2021 with Ag2r, with a series of good results in stage races. We'll see if he can back it up at the Tour, possibly with a top10?
 
Australia has a lot of young(ish) good climbers/GC riders that Im having a hard time telling them apart. Also thinking about Nick Schultz, Lucas Hamilton, Chris Hamilton Chris Harper, Damien Howson or Jack Haig here. Jai Hindley is another candidate but after last years Giro he is standing out a bit more.
 
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Thanks for the video. Baby face is right. Great interview and a good kid. We need to see more videos of riders like this in the forum. Makes you realize they are real people.

Can't help but think as I watch, this down to earth kid from the other side of the world was staring at a top 10 finish on GC in the Giro d'Italia deep in the 3rd week. Having followed Australian cycling reasonably closely since the 90s, its nice to know there is genuine GC talent still coming off the production line.
 
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Thanks for the video. Baby face is right. Great interview and a good kid. We need to see more videos of riders like this in the forum. Makes you realize they are real people.

Can't help but think as I watch, this down to earth kid from the other side of the world was staring at a top 10 finish on GC in the Giro d'Italia deep in the 3rd week. Having followed Australian cycling reasonably closely since the 90s, its nice to know there is genuine GC talent still coming off the production line.
O'Connor's a genuinely good kid. I was able to get to know him little through some mutual friends when I was living in Perth in 2014.

First time I met him a few of us were riding together to a club 20km TT and we got talking. Turned out he only started riding seriously less than 6 months earlier (coming from trail running and AFL) and already had a NRS team for the year. He then proceeded to thrash a field that included guys like Anthony Giacoppo and Ben Davis (both racing Conti with the Avanti squad) on a borrowed TT bike. A fair few egos were destroyed that day :D

Later that year he nearly won a stage of the Tour of Tasmania in a 100km two up break with Wes Sulzberger. Sulzberger later said he was hanging on for dear life for over 50kms, had to do a Gerrans on him, and praised him from the rooftops.
 

He appears very open and thoughtful, yes, I love him. ;)

"When Jai Hindley was leading the Giro there was no exposure for him at all, which I thought was such a shame, but the Tour is like another world."

"Talking is kind of like my thinking time, so it helped to process how it really felt."
 
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Jun 3, 2021
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Rate Haig higher than O'Connor - Have Hindley much lower in the pecking order as the 2020 Giro was a mirage - L.Hamilton should be the best but he can't put it together in races.
I think they're quite evenly matched. I think Ben's a better pure climber with a good engine, where Jack is a bit punchier on shorter climbs. Hindley also a pure climber.
 
I wouldn't be surprised if he finished 2nd in this Tour. 3:17 is a decent advantage over the next rider and his breakaway was no fluke but a result of a very high climbing level. He's always seemed like someone with a bigger climbing talent than his results suggested so I wouldn't be shocked if he stepped up. It's also his first season outside of Dimension Data/NTT which was one of the worst teams at extracting the best out of riders. AG2R is not a top team either but it's one step closer IMO.
 
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O'Connor and Hindley are both better than Haig in the high mountains, they've both proven that
Hindley finished 2nd in a mirage race and has done nothing else riding for GC. He's terribly over-rated on the basis of one fluke result - O'Connor should have got a top 10 in the 2018 Giro and has slowly improved his capabilities riding for GC in one week stage races but has not yet reached Haig's level, though this could happen in the future.
 
I wouldn't be surprised if he finished 2nd in this Tour. 3:17 is a decent advantage over the next rider and his breakaway was no fluke but a result of a very high climbing level. He's always seemed like someone with a bigger climbing talent than his results suggested so I wouldn't be shocked if he stepped up. It's also his first season outside of Dimension Data/NTT which was one of the worst teams at extracting the best out of riders. AG2R is not a top team either but it's one step closer IMO.
I expect he should finish top 4 in the GC - He has taken his opportunity with both hands.
 
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