Jack Bauer in top form for dream ride on Tour

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2013
Jack Bauer
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DREAM COME TRUE: Jack Bauer in action for Garmin in the Tour Down Under.

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Hans and Carolyn Bauer ordered Sky TV for their Parapara home when they heard their son Jack would be riding in his first Tour de France.

Bauer, 28, was yesterday confirmed to ride for his Garmin-Sharp team in what will be his second Grand Tour and first Tour de France.

Bauer will become the 11th New Zealander to ride in the race - this year a 21-stage, 3405km event - when it begins on Sunday (NZ time).

His parents are sad they can't be in France watching, but will have the next best thing; long, coffee-fuelled nights on the couch watching from the top of the South Island.

"He's absolutely over the moon," father Hans said yesterday. "So are we," mother Carolyn added.

Bauer will join Dunedin's Greg Henderson (Lotto-Belisol) in the field for the centenary event as one of only two Kiwis after RadioShack-Leopard opted not to use any of their three New Zealanders - Hayden Roulston, George Bennett or Jesse Sergent - in their nine man team.

Bauer senior, a self-employed artist, joked he planned to give himself the entire three weeks of the Tour off work to watch his son fulfill a long-held ambition.

"This is the pinnacle of every bike rider's career," he said.

"It's always been a dream of his," added Bauer's mother.

The proud parents expected their boy would handle the occasion in his stride, suggesting he was cool, calm and collected about the event when they spoke to him this week.

Bauer himself was clearly rapt.

"I'm really happy to get the chance so early in my career, eh," he said yesterday from Corsica, the 2013 Tour's starting point.

"[The Tour] is just another ball game entirely. It's a dream come true."

Bauer's job will be to help Garmin-Sharp's general classification riders and help bolster the team in the stage four, 25km team time trial next Wednesday (NZ time).

"I'm here purely to support the riders for GC and the white jersey - the young riders' classification.

"We definitely have a shot at the white jersey GC with American Andrew Talansky."

Bauer himself said he was in form despite a major crash in March.

"I've prepared really well for this. Since Paris-Roubaix [in April] I've had nothing on my mind but this.

"I've made a lot of sacrifices and put a lot into it, but I'm really happy to be here and on the start line."

The 11 Kiwis to ride in the Tour de France:

Harry Watson (1928), Tino Tabak (1971, 1972, 1973), Paul Jesson (1979), Eric McKenzie (1982, 1983, 1985, 1986), Nathan Dahlberg (1988, 1989), Stephen Swart (1987, 1994, 1995), Julian Dean (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), Hayden Roulston (2009), Chris Renner (2001), Greg Henderson (2012, 2013), Jack Bauer (2013).

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