Jack Bauer to take one for the team on Le Tour
The elation of appearing in his first Tour de France may not last long for New Zealand's Jack Bauer.
The 27-year-old has been confirmed in the American Garmin Sharp team for the Tour, which starts in Corsica on Saturday night.
Bauer's responsibilities in the race, however, will be to ride in support of last year's Giro d'Italia winner Ryder Hesjedal from Canada, America's Andrew Talansky and Irishman Dan Martin.
The team's three-pronged attack to finishing high up the general classification means that Bauer will have his work cut as one of the team's "domestiques", meaning servants.
As well as dropping back to the team car to stuff numerous drink bottles under his jersey, he'll also be charged with setting a pace in the early stages of the climb, as he did at the Criterium du Dauphine earlier this month.
Usually for teams with riders going for high placings in the general classification, the first week of the Tour is about keeping out of trouble while the sprinters battle it out over the flat roads of northern France.
But with the Tour marking its 100th running this year, it will make its first excursion to the Mediterranean island of Corsica for three stages.
The second and third stages are over some tough climbs and the Tour will then make an early visit to southern France. By next weekend they'll already be passing the Pyrenees Mountains and it's there Bauer will really be called upon.
His form this year though suggests he warranted a place in the Garmin Sharp team, at the expense of their world class sprinter Tyler Farrar.
Bauer has performed well in big races, like Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo, and the Tour of Flanders and says he's feeling good about his first appearance in cycling's biggest event.
"I have prepared really well for this. Since Paris-Roubaix (in early April) I have had nothing on my mind but this," Bauer said.
"I've made a lot of sacrifices and put a lot into it but I am really happy to be here and on the start line.
"I rode the Giro last year and had a great Grand Tour debut," he added.
"I have showed I can perform over three weeks. I am old enough and strong enough to handle it.
"But everyone says the Tour is another ball game entirely. It is much higher level, much higher speed, a way more frantic race. So I don't know if the two can be compared."
The other New Zealander in the Tour is Greg Henderson from Dunedin, who will be the lead out man for German Andre Greipel in the sprint stages.