Giro stage winner O'Connor to move to AG2R next season

Morbegno (Italy) (AFP) –

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Ben O'Connor will move to AG2R La Mondiale next season, the French cycling team announced days after the Australian rider won his first ever Grand Tour stage.

Currently with NTT Pro Cycling, O'Connor won stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday a day after finishing second on the previous stage.

The 24-year-old currently sits 22nd in the general classification, more than an hour behind overall leader Wilco Kelderman.

"I know that the team has great ambitions for the future, and I am proud to be part of it," climber O'Connor said in a statement.

"I have proven that I can win in the UCI World Tour, now I want to improve in stage races, be more consistent and take more victories."

AG2R, who next year will be sponsored by automotive manufacturer Citroen, had been following O'Connor for two years, said team manager Vincent Lavenu.

"He is not yet 25 years old and has already confirmed his potential with his stage victory in the Giro as well as his good overall performance," Lavenu said.

The arrival of O'Connor completes an AG2R recruitment campaign with an international profile following the departure of Romain Bardet for Sunweb.

They have brought in Belgium's reigning Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet, 2018 Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Bob Jungels from Luxemburg and Swiss rider Michael Schar, as well as Frenchman Lilian Calmejane, stage winner on the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana.