Australia's Ben O'Connor won stage nine of the 2021 Tour de France on a cold and rainy Sunday. Meanwhile, UAE Team Emirates leader Tadej Pogacar retained his yellow jersey, further strengthening his lead at the 2021 Tour de France.
Ben O'Connor, who was understandably elated by his stage nine victory, took a moment to thank his well-wishers. He then articulated how he was able to achieve the feat. He was quoted as saying by The Guardian:
"It was always the dream. Just to be here is the first dream. This is testament to everyone who’s put faith in me over the years, my fiancee, my parents, my best mates back in Australia. It’s been a wild ride, and it’s mindblowing. I mean, it’s what you dream of. It’s so much joy. I’ve managed to control myself now. I’m just loving every single moment. I’m so happy, Citroen have had so much faith in me, and it’s clear how much happiness has brought the team, so it’s special."
"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. 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."
2021 Tour de France: Tadej Pogacar shows his class
Pogacar remained favorite in the 2021 Tour de France, showing his class over other contenders. He also praised Australian Ben O'Connor, who won stage nine for Team AG2R Citroën.
"Ben O'Connor is potentially a good GC rider, he's super strong and super young. For sure he's in contention now," Pogacar was quoted as saying by AFP.
Top 10 standings after Stage Nine of 2021 Tour de France:
- Tadej Pogacar
- Ben O’Connor
- Rigoberto Uran
- Jonas Vingegaard
- Richard Carapaz
- Enric Mas
- Wilco Kelderman
- Alexey Lutsenko
- Guillaume Martin
- David Gaudu
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Earlier on Sunday, Australia's Ben O'Connor had said that his hopes of being in the top five of the GC would depend on a miracle. He was quoted by AFP:
"I'll try my best but I'm not on the same level as Tadej (Pogacar), but I'm just enjoying the fact that I can now stand here with these guys and do what I can."