O'Connor storms into GC contention
Australia's Ben O'Connor is up to second in the general classification standings for the Tour de France after an impressive ride to win stage nine on Sunday.
The AG2R Citroen rider is now a 2500/1 chance to win the Tour de France after moving two minutes and one second behind yellow jersey holder Tadej Pogacar, who is 1/1000 to retain his crown.
Pogacar produced a remarkable performance on stage eight to take a stranglehold on the tour with title rivals Mathieu van der Poel and Primoz Roglic pulling out ahead of Sunday's resumption following a punishing first day in the Alps.
The Slovenian was expected to produce another strong outing on the 145km stage between Cluses and Tignes, and while the 22-year-old came home sixth to retain a sizeable advantage, the victorious O'Connor has taken a chunk of time out of it.
The 25-year-old had briefly threatened to take the yellow jersey at one point, such was the advantage of the breakaway group, before being reeled in slightly.
The tour debutant still finished five minutes ahead of Mattia Cattaneo in second place with Sonny Colbrelli completing the podium as O'Connor became the 14th different Australian to win a stage of the Tour de France.
O'Connor says he was delighted to seize his chance to put himself in general classification contention and hopes to build on his stage nine showing when the tour resumes on Tuesday.
"I actually wasn't meant to be in the break. I was just waiting, I didn't really know what to do, if I should play cool. I heard it was a great opportunity, to gain time on the GC, and I knew I could always win at the end," O'Connor told the media.
"I was blowing pretty hard, but it was a mad stage, conditions were atrocious. I was concerned that Tadej was going to explode from behind and chase me down, but I knew I could win the stage. I had faith the whole time, and it was about making sure I didn't panic. As soon as you think, 'I'm going to win a stage on the Tour de France', all sorts of things happen to your mind."