New Zealand’s Jack Bauer was just one of two Kiwi riders included in the men’s Olympic road race on Saturday and he was pleased to be able to walk away from the race with a 10th-place finish. Bauer was chosen amongst a group of experienced professionals for his ability against the clock in the time trial and also his strength in breakaway situations.
"I’m really happy to get inside the top-ten," he told Fairfax NZ. "It was great to wear to the New Zealand colours, [and] have such support from a lot of Kiwi’s out on the course," he said.
The Kiwi team was limited in being able to influence the race due to their two-rider squad but with the power of Bauer and the speed of his compatriot Greg Henderson, they had the ability to cope with various situations.
"We had the same game plan, myself and Hendy [Henderson] but on the other hand we had that option B, that with my strengths if a break went, we needed someone in it," he said.
Bauer was not in the initial breakaway but when the pressure started to show towards the last of the finishing circuits around Box Hill, he was able to go with the attacks and ultimately found himself in the front group challenging for a medal. Unfortunately for Bauer, despite his desire to stand on the podium, he began to struggled toward the end.
"I spoke with him [Henderson] and he said he wasn’t feeling awesome and would try and hang in there and see if it all came back together at the end but I felt good and I told him that."
"I was really struggling with 20km to go. I just started cramping up really badly and the weather was a bit warmer than I expected. Hydration is always hard and I started cramping pretty bad. I'm happy."
Henderson was disappointed with the final result but ultimately had to succumb to his stomach problems. He played a pivotal role in his trade team’s success at the recent Tour de France and believed his form was on track for a good result.
"For me it's super upsetting because you have such a high of the Tour de France and perform with distinction there, and then you end on such a low. It's one of those things out of my control," said Henderson to Fairfax NZ.
"Obviously if it came down to a sprint, this course suited him and he just had a lot of trouble today with stomach issues... he had a pretty rough day," said Bauer.
Bauer will now turn his attention to the 44km time trial held on Wednesday. He finished 19th in the time trial at last year’s UCI World Championships in Denmark.