5 Feb 2016

Bauer on the road again

11:45 am on 5 February 2016

New Zealand rider Jack Bauer made his return to the World Tour in this week's five-day Tour of Valencia.

It has been eight months off the bike for Bauer, who suffered a serious hip injury in a fall at last year's the Tour de France in July.

Bauer, riding for his Cannondale Pro team, hoped to make it back to this year's Tour de France and then earn a place in the New Zealand team to contest the road race at the Rio Olympics.

"My whole year got shook up last year," Bauer said.

Jack Bauer on his way to winning a silver medal in the road race at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Jack Bauer on his way to winning a silver medal in the road race at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Photo: Photosport

"The season went out the window. There was no typical end of the season, no typical month off the bike. I had surgery in late July, and since then I've been steadily progressing with my rehab."

"Training alone is one thing, and I'm quite happy doing that. Being back in the bunch and racing and riding on a wheel, that might take a day or two to get used to. But I feel well prepared. It's been eight months or so since the Tour. I've had a big window of time to prepare myself and get ready for a comeback," Bauer said.

After Valencia, Bauer will go to Tenerife for two weeks of altitude training camp.

He wasn't nervous for the dip back into the peloton, but Bauer was aware of the importance of getting back on the sharp end.

"I think it's important that the team sees me racing again. That's quite a big question mark over my head… they need to see what kind of shape I've gotten myself back into before we can start laying out a season as such. I need to show myself this week in Valencia that I'm back to 100 percent," he said.

Bauer, 30, said he never thought about retiring from sport despite such a tough year.

"I had a new realization of how fragile the human body can be, because it was not a horrific crash by any imagination… It was just sliding around on the road. But I have a new appreciation for how easily we can be injured," he said.

"It's been a long, long road looking back... To be on my back for a couple months, then the bed just watching the body kind of disintegrate... from being in the top shape for the Tour de France to where you've got a broken bone... you obviously put a little bit of weight back on."

"It was a new experience for me, a little bit difficult at times. It's something I've taken a lot out of. It's something I'll learn a lot from," he said.

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