New Zealand cyclist Jack Bauer, fresh from his stage win on the Tour of Britain, has been named to lead the national team at next month’s UCI Road World Championships in Qatar.
Bauer, of Cannondale-Drapac, will lead a group of young riders at the championships to be staged at the later date of 9-16 October to cope with the heat in the region. He will be joined by 25-year-old Cannondale Drapac teammate Patrick Bevin (Taupo) and 23-year-old Dion Smith (Auckland).
Smith is currently competing in the Tour of Britain for his One Pro Cycling Pro Continental team, sitting 16th overall after claiming 14th place in stage 5; which was won by Jack Bauer. while Bevin was racing the Vuelta a Espana until injury forced him out part way through stage 11.
Smith, the 2015 rider of the year, has been in excellent form this year including fifth on GC at the Tour of Dunkirque, a top-10 overall in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race event and a podium place at the Herald Sun Tour. His big win this year came in the Beaumont Trophy where Dion broke away from the field to take a famous win.
Bevin has been thrown in the deep end in his first year on the World Tour, finishing third in the young rider category in the Tour Down Under, third in the prologue at the famed Paris-Nice, as well as performing in the Tour of California, the Tour of Switzerland and at his first grand tour in the Vuelta a Espana.
“We thought it an ideal time to look to the future and of course the unique conditions in Doha were a factor,” said Cycling New Zealand selector Graeme Hunn. “The Doha course is completely flat, with a lot of corners, expected crosswinds and high temperatures.
“All three riders can cope with this and can either act in support roles or equally be competitive in a breakaway or sprint finish.”
The men’s under-23 team is headed by Smith’s One Pro Cycling teammate Hayden McCormick who is the reigning national U23 time trial champion, national under-23 champion Hamish Schreurs and first-year professional Sam Dobbs, who rides for the BMC Development team in Europe.
Schreurs, a trainee with World Tour team Etixx Quickstep, is currently recovering from a wrist injury and will need a medical clearance to compete.
World time trial champion Linda Villumsen will not defend her title, with the need to recover from a major Olympic campaign in order to re-focus on 2017.
“The Olympic campaign involved many of our leading female riders and has left us thin on the ground in terms of riders competing at the highest level of competition required for a world championship campaign.”
Bauer, Bevin, Dobbs and McCormick will compete in both the road race and time trial, with Smith and Schreurs only the road race.