Jesse Sergent set to launch Bauer on road race
Gasping for air, his head buried in a towel, Jesse Sergent declared himself ready to go full throttle in tomorrow night's Commonwealth Games road race to launch Jack Bauer onto the podium.
Sergent finished fifth in a strong men's time trial, won by England's Alex Dowsett, and will return to the Glasgow Green start line 72 hours later in New Zealand's final shot at a medal in these Games.
The men's road race will feature 12 laps of the 14km course, a total of 168km, and no one really knows what to expect as it winds through the heart of the city before the closing ceremony.
''It's a tough course. It's something like 33 corners per lap and it's a big field and there could be a bit of carnage. It will be all go, and will depend what the weather does,'' said BikeNZ's high performance director, Mark Elliott.
If there is carnage, New Zealand hope Bauer stays out of it.
Sergent said he, Greg Henderson, Tom Scully, Shane Archbold and Mike Northey would ride for Bauer, fresh from his agonising defeat in stage 15 of the Tour de France when caught by the bunch 25m from the finish.
Bauer finished 10th in the London Olympic road race, riding solo when Henderson got ill, and is the form Kiwi, especially with Henderson's knee wound from the Tour still fresh.
''I'd like to think I could be a really good hand to Jack Bauer. I'm in good enough shape to hopefully be there at the end and really make a difference for him,'' said Sergent, whose main focus was the time trial.
He rated Bauer a strong medal hope on his Tour form.
''We may not be the biggest team there or the favourites, but New Zealanders are used to having to fight for things like that.''
Henderson provided some good news for the road lineup when he declared himself fit, just three weeks after suffering a deep 12cm cut to his knee when crashing on a Tour stage on July 8
At 37, and in his fourth Commonwealth Games, a farewell Henderson medal would be a compelling storyline.
''When you just about lose half your knee three weeks ago, you never say you're 100 per cent but he's been training and he's been on his bike for six hours last weekend,'' Elliott said.
''He's done a lot of effort work and he'll be fresh, that's all we can ask.''
There's been a few disruptions to New Zealand's buildup as riders came and went and injuries struck, at the height of the European season.
Delhi silver medallist Hayden Roulston (achilles) withdrew, as did James Oram (required by his pro team) and George Bennett (lung infection). It saw national criterium champion Northey summoned, along with track gold medallists Scully and Archbold.
After their mammoth efforts in the points race and scratch respectively, both will try to hang in as long as they can for Bauer.
Australia and England will be toughest to beat, with the Aussies' hopes pinned on Tour de France rider Mark Renshaw and youngster Caleb Ewan as they chase a fifth successive gold in the race.
The women's race gets the final day under way, with New Zealand's time trial gold medallist Linda Villumsen, Jaime Nielsen and Reta Trotman backing up and joining Jo Kiesanowski, Emily Collins and Rushlee Buchanan.