Mitchelton-Scott’s Jack Bauer says that he’s “really, really motivated” for this year’s cobbled Classics, starting with Gent-Wevelgem this Sunday – a race at which he went agonisingly close to victory last season.
Bauer was part of a four-man move that got off the front with around four kilometres to go of the Belgian one-day race, and as they were pulled back by the fast-finishing bunch with 750 metres to go, Bauer managed to attack again, and was only reeled in with 300 metres to go, with UAE Team Emirates’ Alexander Kristoff coming out on top.
“I am really, really motivated for the Classics this year, not only because they’re the last races of the short and compacted season, but because they’re special races and I’m really stoked that they’re able to go ahead this year,” Bauer said on his team’s website, speaking ahead of Friday’s announcement that Paris-Roubaix – which had been rescheduled for October 25 – would be cancelled.
Bauer believes that Gent-Wevelgem suits his skill-set as a rider, and hopes to again be active in the race’s finale this weekend.
“Gent Wevelgem is a race I’ve always liked,” he said. “It’s all about positioning into the [climb of the] Kemmelberg. We have a great group of guys, and guys that are moving well, so I’m expecting a lot of us as a group, and of myself.
“You have to go into every race believing you or your teammate can win and giving it all on the day,” the 35-year-old added. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Bauer said that he came out of this year’s Tour de France, which finished in Paris on September 20, feeling “really good”, and felt as though he had found form in time for the series of rescheduled Classics.
“Now I feel fresh in mind and body and I’m looking to having a good campaign, and hopefully we can make the most of the races,” he said.
Bauer will have the support of a strong Mitchelton-Scott Classics squad for Sunday’s race, which sports director Laurenzo Lapage believes provides strength in depth.
“We have options for the race,” Lapage said. “Jack came close to winning last year, and looks to be in good condition. We have a mixed team of younger riders, like Kaden Groves, Alexander Konychev and Barnabas Peák, and then older, more experienced guys like Luke Durbridge, Luka Mezgec and ‘Edmo’ [Alex Edmondson].”
Mitchelton-Scott for the 2020 Gent-Wevelgem: Jack Bauer, Luke Durbridge, Alex Edmondson, Barnabas Peák, Kaden Groves, Alexander Konychev, Luka Mezgec