Canadian Cycling Hero Takes Leading Role in World Championships 2003

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02/22/2003| 0 comments
by David Cohen

Canadian Cycling Hero Takes Leading Role in World Championships 2003

Interview with Steve Bauer

Beamsville, Ont. - Steve Bauer smiles when it's suggested to him that he might come out of retirement for the 2003 World Road Cycling Championships to be held in Hamilton, Ontario next October 6-12. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>


"There's no doubt it's my kind of course," Bauer says of the 260.4km Elite Men's race, to be held on October 12, that will see the racers climbing the 200m Niagara Escarpment twice in each of the 21 turns around a12.4km circuit. "When I was fit and at my best, I raced well on tough courses   -- Barcelona, Chambery in France, LA in '84. ? Repetition was good for me, the up-and-down-interval kind of event."


Bauer is 41 now, still trim, and looking as if he wouldn't be out of place on a racing bike.   On a cold and snowy recent weekday morning, he greeted this visitor at Steve Bauer Bike Tours Inc., which is located in a former bank on a downtown street in this Niagara Peninsula town of 12,500.


Bauer works with his wife Annick Gies (who grew up in Kortrijk , Belgium) and two assistants. And, oh, his German shepherd Zurich, who keeps everyone company. (Zurich is named for one of Bauer's favourite European cities where he achieved some notable triumphs during his racing career.)


Steve Bauer Bike Tours Inc. is the Official Tour Operator for the World Cycling Championships 2003.   It's an appointment that has everything to do with the fact that Bauer is a cycling legend in these parts, and that he and his wife are in the bike touring business virtually next door to Hamilton.


Bauer retired from racing in the autumn of 1996 after an illustrious amateur and professional racing career that spanned the more than two decades.  


He turned pro in 1984, after winning a silver medal in the Los Angeles Olympics. (He just missed the gold in a heartbreaker last sprint to American Alexei Grewal.   In his second professional race he won a bronze medal at the World Championships in Barcelona.   A year later Bauer had the first of what turned out to be 11 consecutive rides in the Tour de France.


Looking back now, Bauer feels his best years as cyclist were the late 80's.   In 1988 he finished fourth in the Tour after wearing the yellow jersey for five days.   He had two 4ths and a 2 nd in Paris-Roubaix in 1988, 1989 and 1990. In 1988 he won the World Cup in Zurich.   In the same year he was ranked fifth in the world and had stage victories in the Tour of Ireland, the Tour of Switzerland, the Dauphine Libere, and the Vuelta among others.   Back home in Canada he was thrice Canadian road race champion.


After retiring Bauer, at Annick's urging, decided to return to his roots (he was born in the town of Fenwick, which is almost exactly at the centre of the Peninsula) and go into the bike touring business.


He and Annick started


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