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Cycling: Three Aussie riders shining in early 2024

It is very early days in the 2024 UCI World Tour season, but already a number of Australians are catching the eye.

There is a strong contingent of Australian riders on the World Tour and it looks like being an exciting season with the likes of Jai Hindley out to shine.

The spring classics are fast approaching, before the first grand tour of the year, the Giro’d’Italia, gets underway in May.

However, racing is now up and running and some of the Aussies have got 2024 off to a cracking start.

Let’s take a look at three who will be happy with their early season form.

O'Connor secures Vuelta a Murcia glory

2024 is a big year for the Perth-born Ben O’Connor, who will be looking to rediscover the kind of form that saw him win a stage and finish fourth overall at the 2021 Tour de France.

O’Connor has not kicked on as much as he would have liked since then, but maybe that could be about to change in the season ahead.

The 28-year-old is already up and running after winning the Vuelta a Murcia for his team Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale.

O’Connor attacked with 15km of the race to go and none of his rivals were able to bridge the gap and bring him back.

It was O’Connor’s first one-day win in almost two years and should give his confidence a huge boost.

O’Connor is suited to the grand tours and one-week stage races, but showed great versatility with his victory at the Vuelta a Murcia.

Hopefully for the Aussie and his team, there will be plenty more in 2024.

He can be backed at 301.00 to win the 2024 Tour de France.

Welsford shines on Tour Down Under

It has also been a great start to 2024 for another Perth-born cyclist Sam Welsford.

Welsford is riding for a new team in 2024 after penning a deal with Bora Hansgrohe, and he could not have got off to a better start.

The talented sprinter showed his quality when picking up three stage wins at the first UCI World Tour race of the season, the Tour Down Under.

The race may have been missing some of the world’s very best sprinters, but Welsford still fought off some strong competition nonetheless.

It is hard to read to much into the wins, but the signs are encouraging, and Welsford could be in for a big 2024.

Welsford also finished third in the criterium at the Australian National Road Championships.

Ewan earns a win double

Caleb Ewan got 2024 off to a disappointing start when failing to shine at the Tour Down Under, but has since gone on to pick up two wins.

2024 is massive year for the sprinter after making the switch from Lotto Dstny to the Australian Team Jayco AlUla, and he needed a strong start.

He will now be hoping he has turned a corner after winning the criterium at the Australian National Road Championships and stage one of the Tour of Oman.

The 29-year-old was given the perfect lead-out by his team-mates and then showed a devastating kick to win the stage.

There are much bigger tests to come, but Ewan will be delighted to get a couple of wins under his belt early on.

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