Forget stories of barbed wire fences; that’s not what did the damage to our favourite Tour rider, Jack Bauer’s face. We know what really happened on stage 19 but gave our word to Jack that we’d keep schtum – suffice to say that it was a sore one and not his fault.
We bumped into him in the twilight of the Champs-Elysées on Sunday night as he waited for the Garmin post-Tour shindig.
Not an amazing Tour for Garmin but hardly a disaster for them either, with Dan Martin’s stage win on the board and Andrew Talansky continuing his upward climb through the ranks.
Jack had a dozen stitches in place but already the swelling was on the way down and there’s little doubt he’ll soon be back to looking as cool as ever.
He’s headed for the beach and a bit of rest and relaxation before he makes plans for the rest of the season.
If you read our site regularly, you’ll know the story about our relationship with Jack.
VeloVeritas’s pundit in residence, Viktor had spotted this New Zealand laddie who was burning up the Flanders kermis scene in the colours of Anglo/Belgian team, Kingsnorth Wheelers – Jack Bauer.
Ian Whitehead, Englishman ‘gone native’ in the Flemish Flatlands and Kingsnorth stalwart, set a call up for us.
I remember Jack being a little bemused by our interest and me taking an instant liking to the young man on the other end of the phone.
He was living on the Kingsnorth farm outside Gent, a Spartan but character building set up run by Kingsnorth’s Staf Boone.
Four years, a spell at Endura, a New Zealand elite road title and a Tour of Utah stage win later the young Kermis King is now a highly valued member of the Garmin team which backed Ryder Hesjedal to his brilliant and historic Giro win in 2012.
We can’t help but be proud of Jack and just a little pleased with ourselves because it was on our pages where Endura manager Brian Smith first become aware of Jack’s raw talent.
We met Jack for an interview before the Tour’s 16th stage whilst he was still looking million dollars and looked destined to finish his first Tour.
Was Corsica crazy, Jack?
“It wasn’t a bad as I expected, the roads were narrow and at times it was pretty frantic but I got through it, OK.”
It’s been a pretty hot Tour.
“I have to be honest and say that I have been struggling with the heat, especially the Ventoux stage – it just takes so much out of you.”
The TTT must have been a disappointment?
“It was a big personal goal; I did a lot of preparation for it and put a lot of pressure in myself to prepare properly for it so I could boost the team.
“But you have to move on – and since then we’ve had Dan Martin’s stage win and Andrew Talansky looks on course for a top ten finish.”
How was the San Michel TT?
“I was off early in the morning; too early for me – I’m not a morning person!
“But yeah, I tried to give it a bit of gas.”
Dan Martin’s stage win?
“I did what I could but it was such a hilly parcours that I was out of the picture after 20-odd K to be honest.”
How was the QuickStep/Saxo ‘ambush’ day?
“Ramunas Navardauskas and I did a lot of work to keep Andrew Talansky out of the wind when the first split came – we’re both big guys.
“But I just found myself in the wrong place when Saxo split it again.”
“One of the hardest days I’ve spent on a bike in my life.
“My job is to follow the early moves but it was so fast from the start with 48 kilometres covered in the first hour and 50 in the second …”
Was that your worst day?
“No, that would be the day when Dan won the stage and I was out the back before 27 K had been covered – I had to chase flat out until I managed to get into a little group.
“That was a hard day!”
“I felt good in the finals of a few sprint stages but went down in the Veelers crash – I’m still hoping to sneak a top ten in a hilly stage.”
Is there much Kiwi media on the race?
“Not so much media but there are lots of New Zealand folks here – you see plenty of flags roadside.”
You’ve ridden the Giro – how does the Tour compare?
“It’s at another level; faster more aggressive – on Bastille Day the French guys were putting everything on the line …”
At that point the Gamin PR decided it was ‘too hot’ for Jack to spend any more time with us …
Let’s hope he enjoys his beach time – he deserves it.