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Bauer hunts second road title

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/01/2017

Jack Bauer of New Zealand © AP Photo/Alexandra Panagiotidou Jack Bauer of New Zealand A re-energised Jack Bauer will wear new colours as he chases his second title at the national road cycling championship in Napier this weekend.

The 31-year-old from Golden Bay is looking to shine in his first outing for the Quick-Step Floors outfit, the world's fourth ranked professional team.

"I'm certainly not coming to Napier to make up the numbers. While I'm far from my top form and haven't got a lot of miles in the legs, I'm still in reasonable shape," Bauer said.

"Quick-Step is a premier team who are used to winning the biggest races and so there will also be expectations on all of us to perform."

The Belgium-based team boast a powerful line-up including former world champions Tom Boonen and Philippe Gilbert, with Bauer to take up a new role as one of the lead-out train for star sprinter Marcel Kittel.

Five World Tour riders in Bauer, Shane Archbold (Bora Hansgrohe), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Sam Bewley (Orica-Scott) and Tom Scully (Cannondale-Drapac) will compete in Napier.

Also starting is defending champion Jason Christie, national criterium champion Regan Gough and Tour of Southland winner Aaron Gate.

A number of young Kiwi professionals will also start, led by 2016 rider of the year Dion Smith.

Two world champions from other disciplines - under-23 mountain bike world champion Sam Gaze and Olympic rowing star Hamish Bond - are also confirmed.

The championships begin with the time trial on a course around the Church Road Winery on Friday, the women heading out over 20km while the men will tackle a 40km course.

The 112km women's road race is on Saturday, followed by the men's 169km on Sunday.

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