Jack Bauer, take a bow. He put on a show and very nearly delivered a first-ever (solo) stage win for a New Zealander in the Tour de France. We have already posted a quick review of the stage but here’s a second piece with the Kiwi from Garmin-Sharp explaining how he saw the ride into Nîmes…
“I can’t even remember if it was a straight line,” said Jack Bauer when asked to explain the final kilometres of stage 15. “I think it pretty much was.”
The rest of it was a blur but the New Zealander who finished 10th in Nîmes explained what he could remember of a compelling contest… he takes up the story of the stage.
“There was a right-hand corner with about a kilometre, maybe a kilometre-and-a-half to go. I already knew at that point that I had the legs on Elmiger, but if you’ve never been part of a sprint stage, you can’t fathom how fast a galloping pack comes.
“I felt pretty good. I sat on Elmiger’s wheel for about 400 metres and just tried to launch with another 400 to go but, as you can see, a pack at full speed can pull you up pretty fast.
“Over such a long day, I never knew what might come of it. Still, you never start a day like that believing that you’re going to win. You set it into small goals and first of all you have to make the break.
“I felt pretty good this morning and I believed I could make the break. And I made the break – but there was only two of us. And it was such a long day for two people so it’s a pretty big ask and it comes down to the weather a lot – the wind – and how you can manage your energy.
“I really only thought we could win with, maybe, 15 or 10 kilometres to go as I saw the gap starting to stabilise with all the roundabout leading into town. It was quite obvious that we could go through faster, or as fast as a chasing pack. So I think we both thought we were in with a sniff… and we laid it all on the line.”
And he put on quite a show, don’t you think?
Hands up: who thought he had it? Really, even if you thought he and Elmiger were going to be caught, admit it: you still wanted them to steal this one from the sprinters, didn’t you?
Next time… there’s always a next time.