Garmin Sharp's Jack Bauer had all of NZ on the edge of anticipation in becoming the first ever New Zealander to take a road stage in the Tour early this morning as he bore down on the Tour de France finish line in Nimes after a 222km long breakaway with Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling). The Swiss and the Kiwi swapped equally strong turns for the stage long break going away in km zero. As the duo entered Nimes their once 9 minute advantage had be whittled away to less than a minute as the sprinters teams collaborated to use their might to secure a stage win for their sprint aces. Bauer pulling hard all the way down the finish straight and sensing the burning speed of the peloton closing in at near 70kph opened up his sprint early and disposing of Elmiger, with legs full of acid Bauer gave it his all to secure the historic moment for NZ but it was not to be as he was caught by the sprinters just 20 metres out from the line but still coming home in 10th.
They day ended in success for the second time in this Tour for Alexander Kristoff as he roared home to take the win for Katusha, in Kristoff Norway has found the successor to Thor Hushovd bursting into the front echelon of riders on the World Tour this season.
Bauer may not have taken the win but his effort of the day impressed every Kiwi in the NZ cycling fraternity and I am sure with the taste of what could have been we have not seen the back of Jack in this Tour.
"This was my first chance to be up the road and with the wind and the weather, me and Martin realised we had a chance for the win. We didn’t plan it to be just two riders but we managed it well," Bauer explained to cyclingnews.
"I thought I was stronger than Martin but maybe I waited too late. I faked being tired but felt I had more punch left. I waited until 400 metres to go. I thought I had it but then I realised in the last 50 metres, that I had nothing."