Jack Bauer concludes Tour Down Under on a high note
An absolute powerhouse this week, the Kiwi won the most combative rider award for the third consecutive day.
Tight and twisty corners, high speeds and a 20-lap flattish circuit, these were the main ingredients of Tour Down Under's final stage, which got underway under a very hot sun, with temperatures hitting 37 degrees Celsius. Riding the Australian race for the first time in his career, Gianluca Brambilla was part of the early breakaway on stage 6, attacking on the streets of Adelaide together with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal). With the fight for the minor podium places still on, they weren't allowed to get a big gap, as several teams had an interest in contesting the intermediate sprints.
Later in the race, with nine laps left, attacks flared out once Jack Bauer took off for another trademark escape. Joined by seven other riders, with whom we worked to open a 55-second lead, Jack stayed in that group until the final 20 kilometers, when he went solo, a move to which no one could answer. It was no easy task for the Kiwi, especially as he was coming after hard two stages which saw him feature in the break, but nevertheless he powered away and left it all on the road, managing to fend off the peloton until inside the last 10 kilometers.
As soon as the catch was made, more and more teams came forward to position their sprinters for the final showdown of this year's Tour Down Under, and in the end Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) was the one who nabbed the win in Adelaide, while fellow countryman Richie Porte (BMC) sealed the overall victory at the 19th edition of the World Tour event.
For Jack Bauer, the stage brought a third consecutive most combative rider award, a performance hard to match in the future at the Tour Down Under, thus capping off a strong week of racing in South Australia. The World Tour season opener was the 31-year-old's first race with Quick-Step Floors Cycling, and Bauer showed he's already found his place in the team.
"Winning the combativity prize so many times wasn't a plan, as such. Looking back at the past few stages, I wanted to win stage four, as I thought there was a small chance of a breakaway winning the day. On stage 5, I just wanted to sit at the head of the race, so that I could survive the climb up Willunga Hill, and that's why I went in the breakaway. Finally, on the last stage, I knew there was not a big chance of winning the stage, which is a very fast circuit, but I nevertheless had a shot, and at least I put the Quick-Step Floors team jersey out there at the front of the race and put on a show for the fans who came out to watch us", said Jack before traveling to Geelong for next week's Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele