Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jack Bauer will be one of two Kiwi World Tour riders guaranteed to miss the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Bauer, who won silver in the road race at the Glasgow Games of 2014 will be unable to better his silver medal, as will gold medallist Geraint Thomas from Wales and Bauer’s Kiwi compatriot George Bennett; raising questions of how many will make the start line from the highest echelon of the sport.
It was reported on Stuff that both Jack Bauer – who will race for Mitchelton-Scott in 2018 alongside Sam Bewley – and George Bennett of LottoNL-Jumbo, will miss the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year; but with differing objectives in mind. The Games which run from the opening ceremony on 4th April to the 15th unfortunately clash with crucial team objectives for the riders.
For Jack Bauer one-day classics Paris-Roubaix on 8th April and Amstel Gold Race on 15th will take priority as he lines up for his team. “Unfortunately there’s no question about it. A cycling team employs you to race for them, not for your country. It makes sense when you think about it,” Bauer said.
George Bennett’s priority is vastly different and not directly in the Commonwealth Games window, but nonetheless would prove problematic for him if he was forced to juggle team and country commitments. Bennett will not even be lining up in defence of his Amgen Tour of California title which he won this year, instead choosing to target the Giro d’Italia which runs from 4th-27th May.
“It would be great to do it and I’d love to do it, but to fly all the way back in April when I’m going to be doing altitude training for the Giro, it doesn’t really work for my big goals,” George said.
The Giro d’Italia 2018 will doubtless be one of the highlights of the World Tour season, with a poultice of cycling’s creme de la creme announcing that they will be lining up for a shot at the maglia rosa. Chris Froome of Team Sky, Tom Dumoulin of Team Sunweb, Fabio Aru and more have all confirmed their intentions to ride the three week race. This does mean, however, that for Bennett prioritising the Giro will mean he misses both the Commonwealth Games and Tour de France. He will, however, intend to line up at the World Championships towards the end of the year and one other major objective.
“I won’t be at the Tour next year,” Bennett announced. “After a lot of discussion, thinking and planning, and analysing courses, we are going to do the Giro and the Vuelta and then carry on to the worlds. They are the three main objectives this season.”
There has been no official confirmation as to the intentions of the four other Kiwi World Tour professionals when it comes to the Commonwealth Games and grand tours for 2018. Patrick Bevin, who will race for BMC Racing, Sam Bewley with Mitchelton-Scott, Alex Frame for Trek-Segafredo and Tom Scully for EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale are all unknowns for the Commonwealth Games. ProContinental riders Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate who will team up for Aqua Blue Sport, Hamish Schreurs of Israel Cycling Academy and Dion Smith of Wanty-Groupe Gobert are also unknowns amongst others.