Ben O’Connor has signed a contract extension with Team Dimension Data until 2020. The 22-year-old’s current deal two-year deal was due to expire at the end of this season but after a highly impressive start to this campaign he has put pen to paper on a new deal.
O’Connor was riding well at the Giro d’Italia earlier in May and sitting 12th overall in just his first Grand Tour. However, a crash on stage 19 took him out of the race. His overall performance, in which he climbed with some of the best riders in the world was enough to impress the Dimension Data management.
“I am excited to have signed a new contract with Team Dimension Data. I have made some good friends here, with the riders and staff, and I really get along well with everyone. When you already have that trust established, I don't think it's a great idea to just jump from one team to another,” O’Connor said in a statement issued by the team.
“Dimenson Data is a great fit for me. Here we have the ability to actually race the race, and that freedom allows you to learn and grow in a professional environment. This system really works for me so it is a great fit. I'm also happy to be able to show loyalty to the team that believed in me initially, and gave me that opportunity.
“The Giro was massively disappointing for me, in the end, but it opened my eyes to more defined goals. I am a GC rider, and a Grand Tour white jersey is definitely right up there on top of my list of goals now, a goal I look forward to chasing with Team Dimension Data.”
O’Connor turned professional with Dimension Data in 2017 and he announced himself on the world stage with a string of impressive rides. This year he claimed a stage win at the Tour of the Alps and finished seventh overall. While 11th at the Volta a Catalunya was also commendable, it was his consistency throughout the Giro that brought him to a wider audience and the attention of other teams.
“We're really happy to have Ben continue his career and development at Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka,” said team manager Doug Ryder.
“He has been such an amazing addition to the team. Ben is a rider who knows what he wants, pays incredible attention to the detail in the races he rides, leverages the mentorship we have in our team both on and off the bike and takes a leadership role when the opportunity presents itself. His maturity is way beyond his years and he sets an example of what is possible when you embrace all at your disposal whilst having fun doing it. Bicycles change lives.”