Garmin Sharp strongman ready to soak up Grand Boucle
Successfully making his way through his first grand tour at the Giro d'Italia in 2012 has proven to Jack Bauer he has what it takes to survive the next the 100th edition of the Tour de France. Bauer, like the rest of his Garmin Sharp teammates, was officially announced for the Grand Boucle just days before the start in Corsica but from the start of the year, there's been only one thing on his mind: a start at the Tour.
"It is a dream come true as it is for any Kiwi cyclist. This is the pinnacle of any road cycling event and to start it as a Kiwi, not many have done in the past, is something I have dreamed about since I was a kid," said Bauer.
"Since Paris-Roubaix I have had nothing on my mind but this. I've made a lot of sacrifices and put a lot into it but I am really happy to be here and on the start line," he added.
"I remember watching it back in my day and it seemed like an impossible road to get here and yet here I am on the eve of the Centenary edition. It is pretty special."
Bauer is a relative late comer to the WorldTour ranks, having signed with Jonathan Vaughters' squad for the 2012 season at the tender age of 26. In what appears to be a trend at the US-registered outfit Bauer was given the opportunity to ride a three-week race at the Giro in his first professional season - after two years with the Continental Endura team.
He showed his class in the opening time trial and finished in 13th place and bested the eventual Giro winner and teammate Ryder Hesjedal in the process. Garmin-Sharp arrive in Corsica with a number of cards to play in the GC game with Bauer undoubtedly key to the team on the flatter stages and will add power to the team time trial. The New Zealander however, is not underestimating the difficulty of riding his first lap of France.
"I rode the Giro last year and had a great Grand Tour debut. I have showed I can perform over three weeks. I am old enough and strong enough to handle it.
"But everyone says the Tour is another ball game entirely. It is much higher level, much higher speed, a way more frantic race. So I don't know if the two can be compared. I am relatively relaxed person and will just soak it up. I am really happy to get this chance so early in my career."
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Tour de France
Tour de France 2013