New Zealander Jack Bauer may not have taken the stage victory, or even the combativity award but the Garmin-Sharp man still booked his place in Tour folklore, at least for the rest of this year’s race.
Slick roads and darkening skies may have aided the two-man break with the peloton losing speed on the masses of road furniture, but the efforts of Bauer and Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) should not be understated.
A flat road stage, even with the crosswinds wreaking havoc, should never have brought anything more dramatic than a bunch sprint. And while the record books will show that was exactly the case, it fails to tell the story of stage 15.
A classy display of riding from Elmiger and Bauer – both just riding on, taking their turns in the wind and not attacking each other until the denouement – meant they gave themselves every chance to stay clear all day.
And while it may not have quite shared the drama of Tony Martin at the 2013 Vuelta or the audacious, but successful, effort by Jan Bakelants at last year’s Tour, Jack Bauer’s near-miss has rightly added to the stock of the 29-year-old.
Stage 15 may not have been the former Endura man’s day, but you can bet his presence in a break going forward will make for some nervous chasing packs next time out.