Injured, the Australian was forced to leave the Tour de France on Monday during the rest day at Morzine.
Special correspondent for Morzine
The AG2R-Citroën team, which on Saturday had already seen Geoffrey Bouchard leave, after a positive test of Covid-19, will have to face without Ben O’Connor, its leader, injured, delayed and forced to retire , this Monday, at Morzine. . ” It was the wisest decision to tell Ben not to go back. The hip pain was too much. He was hit during the 2nde stage. The pain is believed to have amplified with the passage of cobblestones. Unfortunately he fell back into the collective fall on Friday that bothered him again, dragging his misery ever since. Yesterday (Sunday) it was almost impossible for him to pedal. We insisted that there was a day off but we understood that it would be difficult to get it back, so the wisest solution was to abandon the race. Now, we will have to be actors to project ourselves ahead and aim for stage victories and at the level of the general classification to bet on Aurélien (Part Painter) and Bob (Jungels) who have the ability to get into the Top 10. We still have great things to do from here in Paris “, presents Julien Jurdie, sporting director of the AG2R-Citroën team.
Tour de France records
In Copenhagen, the Australian 4e du Tour 2021, winner of a magnificent stage in Tignes and presented as one of the outsiders of the Tour 2022 was projected with a smile: ” I’m ready. I’m super excited. It’s not the same feeling as last year when I was a little scared. There, I’m ready, I’m here for the race. » 3e of the Critérium du Dauphiné (behind Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard), the Australian has wanted to rely on confidence and accumulated experience “. in every race I learn something, I hope not to repeat the same mistakes. This is true for mountain, curbs, cobblestones. This is the most important thing in big attractions, making fewer mistakes. »
This Monday in Morzine, the main stakeholder has not hidden his grief at having to leave the Tour. ” I have been fighting evil and pain for days, but yesterday (Sunday) got worse. I compensated on one side and as a result I almost only pedaled with one leg. The pain doesn’t allow me to continue. Of course, I am disappointed. The Tour de France is the largest race in the world. I prepared all year and came up with big goals. It’s hard to feel like you’re sinking and you can’t reach your goal, just because of an injury and bad luck. I will recover and then focus on the Vuelta, which was part of my initial program, and where I hope to be able to achieve the goals I had set for myself in the Tour de France. I hope it brings me all the bad luck that has affected us in my luggage and that the boys get a great final on the Tour. They are capable of it.»
The mythical ascents of the Tour de France
Unfortunately, the AG2R-Citroën team leader was soon limited in his expression and ambition. After any opening time trial (79e at 1’1 ”), the Australian fell to 2e stage, then the cobblestone test (5e step) was quickly a brake. A puncture in the second sector of cobblestones, combined with the very distant place of the equipment in the line of cars (n ° 21), transformed the service of failures and the episode into a nightmare (85e at 4’12 ” that day). Then he fell back to 8e stage and wandered away from his initial ambition (86e at 49’58 ”).
Affected but happy by the group, the Australian had lifted the cup and had sung in the stage victory of the Luxembourg Bob Jungels in Châtel, this Sunday. What had come back late (102e at 27’35 ”). The management of the team has preferred to put an end to its ordeal, this Monday in Morzine.
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