Bauer animates day at Tour Down Under
The 31-year-old was rewarded with the most combative rider of the stage award, after spending more than 120 kilometers in the breakaway.
When Jack Bauer goes into an escape, the peloton knows a long and hard day awaits, as the New Zealand born rider isn't used to giving up no matter what the gap is, instead digging deep every time and putting in a great performance, just like he did on stage 4 of Tour Down Under, which saw the pack travel from Norwood to Campbelltown, over a distance of 149.5 kilometers. And what a day it turned out to be for Jack, who attacked minutes after the start, and was joined by Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida) and Cameron Meyer (UniSA-Australia), together with whom he opened a maximum gap of two minutes.
Despite the course being jammed with many short unclassified climbs, Friday's stage was dubbed by many as being one for the sprinters, and as a result their teams came to the front of the bunch and controlled the breakaway, from which Cink was the first to wave the flag, with more than 50 kilometers left to the finish in Campbelltown. Then, around 20 kilometers later, Meyer decided to sit up and wait for the pack, leaving just Jack at the front, who continued to roll the dice, even though the advantage he had was coming down to under a minute.
The Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team rider, who was crowned National ITT Champion earlier this season, was left unfazed by this and continued to push hard, putting in a fine solo effort on the up-and-down roads leading to the finish, which helped him hold off the peloton until inside the last four kilometers, when the chasers made the catch. At the end of the day, Jack's valiant effort and impressive display garnered him a trip to the podium, where he received, together with Cameron Meyer, the prize for the most aggressive rider of the stage.
“It was definitely the plan to get into the breakaway today. I had a close look at all six stages, and thought this was really the only day when a break could potentially stay away. The whole time I was riding, I remembered how Jack Bobridge had pulled off this feat during the first stage of the Tour Down Under in 2015, which had the same finish into Campelltown. Today, I tried to repeat that, and despite getting away with quality riders, ultimately the break stayed small, with only three of us making the cut. The bunch didn’t let us get too far and I realised that we were not going to make it this time, but it was well worth the attempt”, said Jack Bauer, the first New Zealander in two years to be awarded the most combative rider prize in Tour Down Under.
The day concluded with the victory of home rider Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), who got the better of Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Danny van Poppel (Team Sky), while Richie Porte (BMC) kept the lead in the general classification, where Quick-Step Floors' neo-pro Enric Mas sits in 14th place, less than half a minute behind the Australian.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele