Kiwi Jack Bauer gets ride in Tour de France
Kiwi cyclist Jack Bauer will ride in his first Tour de France.
The 28-year-old from Takaka was overnight confirmed in the nine-man Garmin-Sharp team - the same team Julian Dean rode for.
Bauer will be one of two Kiwis in the field after team Lotto-Belisol named Greg Henderson to ride in his second Tour de France.
Bauer, the 2010 New Zealand road race champion, will debut alongside Australian Rohan Dennis and the pair are expected to help Garmin-Sharp's main trio Ryder Hesjedal, Dan Martin and Andrew Talansky when the event starts Sunday morning (NZ time).
Bauer and Dennis will be expected to protect the team's general classification trio from the crashes that plagued Garmin-Sharp a year ago.
Bauer's job will also be to do a power of work in the Tour's only team-time trial next Wednesday and the two individual time trial's later in the three-week, 3404km race.
Team Garmin-Sharp boss Jonathan Vaughters was pleased with the shape of his team and said they weren't there to make up the numbers.
''Our goal is to animate the race and with an aggressive strategy, we will aim to place high in the general classification," he said.
"We have a few guys capable of achieving that - Ryder's won a Grand Tour and placed in the top 10 of the Tour de France; Andrew is young and while it's his first Tour de France, he is coming off a great season; and Dan Martin is having a breakout year with his wins in Catalunya and Liege-Baston-Liege.''
He went on to say the team would use an unconventional approach.
''But we've managed to come up with surprises every year at the Tour and we're hoping for the same as we head into Corsica.''
The inclusion in the world's most famous sporting race is a big achievement in itself, but for Bauer it will be even more special after a major crash in just two months ago looked like it might have wrecked his chances.
Riding in a one-day race in Belgium, Bauer crashed in the main peloton and images at the time showed him lying motionless on the side of the road, face down and still clipped into his pedals.
He recovered from what turned out to be a nasty concussion and was declared healthy not long after.
Bauer and Henderson will be the only Kiwis in the race after RadioShack-Leopard named their nine-man team and it featured no New Zealanders.
Hayden Roulston, George Bennett and Jesse Sergent all ride for RadioShack and all featured in the Giro D'Italia.
Roulston was the only one included in RadioShack's wider squad for France. He pulled out of the year's first grand tour through illness and has had a huge workload.