Jack Bauer revels in the success of Quick-Step Floors at Tour de France

Jack Bauer rides in the opening stage time trial at the Tour de France.

Jack Bauer rides in the opening stage time trial at the Tour de France.

It's a high speed game of Tetris.

That's how Jack Bauer described the bunch sprint at the Tour de France as he and the rest of Quick-Step Floors' seven-man sprint train align themselves in position ready to propel Marcel Kittel towards the finish line.

The German sprinter has been one of the stars of the 2017 Tour. He has won five stages already and currently wears the green jersey.

Bauer described his team-mate as "a class above" and the big Kiwi is clearly enjoying the lead-out role where his job description is providing a slingshot for "the premier sprinter on the globe".

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"He's just got so much top end speed on him and couple that with the confidence of winning a few times and having a dedicated and pretty strong team around him," said Bauer, who hails from Golden Bay. "If you put him in the right place at the right time, he is one of the fastest if not the fastest.

"It's a very strong team in terms of depth and talent. They have some big names in the roster so you always go into a race and the competition expecting the best and hoping for the best but to pull it off and deliver, there's always a great sense of accomplishment and relief at the same time."

Bauer said the champagne has been flowing in the Quick-Step Floors camp right throughout the Tour - yes, they celebrate every stage win.

"We never pass up an opportunity to crack open a bottle and celebrate the moment," he said.

"A stage win is one person crossing the line but you have your eight team-mates and all the staff, and it's a huge amount of staff at the race with us, and we live, compete and travel together year round and it's a big moment for everybody and a highly celebrated moment when all the hard-work pays off.

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"It's a great environment to be a part of and for me it's a pretty new experience. I've done the Tour three times before and been part of a stage win in two of those editions but that's just one stage.

"At the moment we're sitting at a grand total of five and looking at a few more over the next couple of days, so it's a pretty cool experience and definitely not something I'm taking for granted because I don't know if I'll ever experience something like this again in my career so I'm making the most of it."

Bauer said it was great to be back at the biggest bike race on the planet, two years after breaking his femur at the event.

"Every professional bike rider, they want to go to the Tour. I think most riders have a bit of a love-hate relationship with it. It's a beast of a race, it's so fast, competitive, long and obviously there are some pretty big mountains to get over and some pretty high stress sprint stages to try and succeed in.

"But, as athletes, everyone wants to represent at the pinnacle of the sport and in cycling it's definitely the Tour de France."

Another one of Bauer's team-mates, Irishman Dan Martin, currently sits fifth on the general classification, just 1min 12sec behind leader Chris Froome (Team Sky).

 - Stuff


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