Bauer set a 51:24 on the demanding circuit course, beating former under-23 title winner Jason Christie by 21 seconds. Olympian Jaime Nielsen claimed her third elite women’s time trial title, while the under-23 honours went to Regan Gough and Mikayla Harvey.
“That was so hard. That course was tough with the climb, and I had forgotten about how dead the New Zealand roads are with the big chip, and added to that the wind was quite strong,” Bauer said.
“I am so thrilled to win this national title and to be able to take the national jersey back to Europe for my new team. I had no expectations today as it was more of a 40km hit-out for my major goal of the road championship on Sunday.”
Bauer gave the Quick-Step team their 40th national title since its creation in 2003.
“They have given me all the support I needed for these championships. It is a big opportunity for me and some big expectations as well from a team that expects to win race. To give them a second jersey on Sunday would be nice.”
Bauer joined Quick-Step after seven years with Jonathan Vaughters at Garmin and Cannondale. He fractured his femur in the Tour de France in 2015, but after rehabilitating he came into the 2016 season with high hopes, only to crash and break his wrist in February. He didn’t ride a Grand Tour in 2016 but fought his way back into form and won a stage of the Tour of Britain in Bath, which helped secure his move to Quick-Step.
"The last season has been a tough one, but I have made it back to full fitness, to a competitive level, and I'm really grateful for the opportunity to ride for Quick-Step," Bauer said at the time, recalling how he started his European career in Belgium. He is expected to be a part of Quick-Step’s Classics squad.
"When I started my career, in 2009, I moved to Gent and raced for a small amateur team from the area, learning how to ride in the wind and on the narrow and twisty roads so famous in Belgium. Then, when I turned pro in 2012, I discovered my passion for the classic one-day races in the north.”