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Ben O'Connor out of Paris-Nice with flu

CHICLANA DE SEGURA SPAIN FEBRUARY 20 Ben Alexander Oconnor of Australia and Ag2R Citroen Team prior to the 68th Vuelta A Andalucia Ruta Del Sol 2022 Stage 5 a 1644km stage from Huesa to Chiclana De Segura 870m 68RdS on February 20 2022 in Chiclana De Segura Spain Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën) is out of Paris-Nice with flu (Image credit: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

Ben O’Connor will be a non-starter in the stage 4 time trial at Paris-Nice due to flu. The AG2R Citroën rider had been lying 11th overall, 39 seconds behind race leader Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma).

After placing fourth overall at last year’s Tour de France, O’Connor began his 2022 campaign with a solid 7th place at the Ruta del Sol, and he had entered Paris-Nice with the aim of challenging for overall victory later in the week.

“Ben O’Connor is feverish and his condition does not allow him to continue such a demanding event as Paris-Nice,” AG2R Citroën manager Vincent Lavenu said in a statement released by the team on Wednesday.

“In consultation with the rider and Dr. Fabrice Descombes, the team’s medical manager, we have decided to withdraw him from the race. It is of course a blow since Ben had shown good form since the start of the race, and had concrete ambitions for the general classification.”

In O’Connor’s absence, AG2R Citroën’s attentions will turn to Aurélien Paret-Peintre, who placed ninth overall at the race a year ago.

“With Aurélien Paret-Peintre and Clément Champoussin, we still have the necessary assets for the team to continue to be a player at Paris-Nice,” said Lavenu.

The next race on O’Connor’s schedule is likely to be the Volta a Catalunya, which gets underway on March 21.

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