Can Bauer power into Quick-Step's Classics team?

Strong start to the year for Kittel's new teammate

After a string of impressive rides at the Tour Down Under last month, Jack Bauer has set his sights on making the Quick-Step Floors Classics team.

Such a move, the 31-year-old told Cyclingnews, may not happen during this calendar year but the New Zealander is relishing the chance to shine at his new team after six years at Slipstream sports.

"I want to show that I'm in good shape. I want to work my way into the team and I'm a newcomer," Bauer told Cyclingnews.

"I have a great programme but I want to show that I go the distance. I aim to push my way into the Classics squad in the future. At the moment they have an incredibly strong line-up and you don't just step in. The team is already strong and Philippe Gilbert joined this year. This is 'the' Classic squad."

Bauer's first set of races after the Tour Down Under will see him follow a programme similar to Marcel Kittel's as the team look to bolster the German's lead-out train after the departure of Tony Martin to Katusha-Alpecin.

"I don't think that it will be this year, in terms of the Classics," Bauer said. "The plan at the moment is to ride lead-out for Marcel and I'm really looking forward for that. I've done a lot of training with that in mind."

While Bauer may be playing down his chances of making to the start lines of at least some of the Classics, the team management will undoubtedly be impressed with how he has ridden for them this year. He picked up the team's first win of the season with victory in his national time trial championships in January and made it into three significant breaks at the Tour Down Under.

"I would jump at the chance," he said when asked if he would take the opportunity to ride the Classics if it was presented to him.

"But what I really appreciate about Quick-Step Floors is that they have riders lined up for a particular role and those riders know what the role is. That's not something I'm used to."

Bauer's next outing will come at the Abu Dhabi Tour, where he will link up with the rest of Marcel Kittel's sprint train. The former Cannondale rider is looking to take his early season form into the Middle East.

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