The hottest new name in New Zealand road cycling, Jack Bauer, has been confirmed to lead the Trust House team in this month Trust House Cycle Classic from January 27 to 31.
The Nelsonian made himself a contender for Commonwealth Games selection in outsprinting the country's top road riders, Hayden Roulston and Julian Dean, to win the New Zealand championship in Christchurch last Sunday. Bauer surprised the two Tour de France competitors with his ability to stay with them over the gruelling 186km distance, and then he embarrassingly out-foxed them in the final sprint after he'd been dropped on the final climb, and had to catch up.
It was a remarkable victory given the 24-year-old has only been racing for three years, and in little more than a year he has gone from being a mountain biker to hold the most important road title in the country. He now has the honour of wearing his country's colours in his races this year. He came to prominence last year, winning several races in Europe, and in November he showed what he was capable of in finishing second, behind Heath Blackgrove, in the Tour of Southland.
Bauer impressed Trust House tour race director, Jorge Sandoval, at the club national championships in Nelson in October and decide to place him as a team leader for the Trust House team to contest this month's international event.
"I first met Jack as his Wellington team manager at the club nationals, and he had a fantastic ride," Sandoval said. "He was very strong on the climbs, and he is such an aggressive rider I wanted to sign him straight for the Trust House team in my tour. Jack will be well suited to the tour with all the hills I've included this time."
Sandoval has assembled an international team to support Bauer, three Australians Daniel Furmston, Benjamin Fleming and Josh Hogg, and Belgium's Jeroen Van Shelven. The latter rides for Pro Tour team, Silence Lotto, and with a rich background of racing in Europe he will be a great asset. Sandoval says the Australians are used to riding as domestiques, and that will be their role in the Trust House sponsored event.
Furmston also has a fine reputation as a climber.
The Trust House classic will give Bauer a further opportunity to boost his claims for Commonwealth Games selection in Delhi in October before joining his professional team, Endura, in England, and he now looms as the most likely New Zealander to break Australia's hold on the overall tour title.