Playing as a striker, footballer Gary Lineker once explained, was an exercise in patience. "Most of the time, I’m frustrated, pissed off, waiting for the right ball," he said. Sprinters in the WorldTour can empathise with the sentiment. So much of their time is spent waiting for a chance – the right chance – to come along. With that in mind, Phil Bauhaus is aiming to increase the glut of opportunities that fall his way in 2019 after swapping Team Sunweb for Bahrain-Merida.
"That’s why I changed in the end," Bauhaus told Cyclingnews. "I want to be a sprint captain, and I think it’s important to get as many chances as you can. This team, Bahrain-Merida, could offer me that and that’s why I came here."
The German may not have won often in his professional career to date but his running total of six victories is deceptive. When opportunities do fall his way, his conversion rate is a decent one, while the low quantity of wins on his palmarès is offset by their quality. Bauhaus scored his first WorldTour victory at the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné when he beat Arnaud Démare and Bryan Coquard to the line in Macon, and he claimed a perhaps loftier scalp at last year’s Abu Dhabi Tour when he pipped his fellow countryman Marcel Kittel on stage 3.
Phil Bauhaus battles Peter Sagan at the 2017 BinckBank Tour (Bettini Photo)
Between stints at Bora-Hansgrohe and Sunweb - not to mention his amateur days at Team Stölting - Bauhaus has spent his entire career to date on German-registered teams, but while Bahrain-Merida marks a new departure, there is a certain familiarity about his nascent lead-out train.
Tour Down Under
Bauhaus has already arrived in Australia ahead of his Bahrain-Merida debut at next week’s Tour Down Under, before he moves on to race the new UAE Tour in February, and then either Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico in March. His programme thereafter is less certain – a Grand Tour appearance will likely come at either the Giro or Vuelta – but Bauhaus seems keen to race just about anywhere that offers him a chance to unleash his sprint.