Australian Ben O’Connor finishes third on Criterium du Dauphine behind winner Primoz Roglic

Australian Ben O’Connor has shown his willingness for another big Tour de France by taking the first overall World Tour podium of his nascent career at the Criterium du Dauphine.

The Perth rider, who finished fourth in the Tour last year, took third overall in the South East France stage race, which acts as an important dress rehearsal for the world’s greatest race.

But while O’Connor’s performance in the week-long race was very encouraging with the Grand Tour not even three weeks away, he was still no match for race winner Primoz Roglic and Slovenian Jumbo-Visma team-mate, runner-up Jonas Vingegaard.

O’Connor, who was third overnight, was again the only rider to come close to the Jumbo-Visma pair, finishing third in Sunday’s eighth and final stage, a 138.8km mountainous route from Saint-Alban-Leysse to Plateau de Salaison.

But again he couldn’t quite match Roglic, one of the Tour favourites, and his mighty Danish right-hand man Vingegaard, who pulled away from the rest of the field on the final climb.

Once they broke up their opponents, with their closest challenger, O’Connor, 15 seconds adrift, the teammates had the luxury of being able to hold hands as they crossed the line.

Loading

Roglic was happy to push Vingegaard forward, which allowed him to take the podium and finish second in the general classification, while claiming the overall victory by 40 seconds off the Dane and 1:41 ahead of AG2R Citroën’s O’Connor.

“Thought I might get in touch with them,” O’Connor said.

“I still had legs. I never exploded. It’s just that I couldn’t keep up with the first gears, but I can be very proud.