Canadian Cycling Hero Takes Leading Role in World Championships 2003
Interview with Steve Bauer
quite locally, offering tours along the Peninsula's back roads with stops at wineries for refreshment and sustenance.
Later, as they became established, they felt confident enough to offer tours to Europe and elsewhere. Now, the company will take you to the Tour de France and you can ride the course just ahead of the big guys. Same with the Giro D'Italia.
But if climbing Mont Ventoux is not your cup of tea, the Bauer firm offers bike tours of Tuscany, where the emphasis is more on the cultural than on the athletic. Similarly, there is a tour that goes to Costa Rica, where Steve and Aniik where married in 1999.
So Bauer and his company were a very good fit for the WC 2003. He's enthusiastic about the event.
"We've placed about 12 teams in accommodations so far," he says. "We launched our on-line booking engine in January ( http://www.worlds.stevebauer.com) and the response has been very good."
It's expected that in the neighbourhood of 250,000 people will be visiting Hamilton and its environs for the championships but will also take in the many attractions of the region that includes Toronto, the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton, and the Peninsula.
"Our challenge is to manage the reservations for the small groups -- the two's, the three's, the four's, Bauer says. "We think on-line bookings are best for these groups."
Bauer has naturally placed the competing teams and WC officialdom close to the course in downtown Hamilton. He expects that as the event approaches, bookings will be made further afield in both directions from Hamilton.
But, for now, he's satisfied. "There's a lot of traffic on the site. People are finding us?It's a good start."
Perhaps predictably, the initial response to the WC is strongest from the United States. The U.S. border is about 50km from Hamilton, and many Americans, especially from New York State and the Great Lakes states, are used to travelling to Canada. Indeed, it's quite conceivable that but for the present geopolitical situation, the American response would be even greater.
"We're expecting a strong response from Europe," Bauer says. "We'll get the cycling aficionados and those who want to combine the WC with a trip to this area. But we want to above all attract people from all walks of life willing to take this great opportunity to experience bike racing at its best."
Of course, the unknown factor here is Lance Armstrong, who has indicated an interest in WC 2003. The race is, after all, being run in North America.
But more important is the course.
"This is a great race course for Lance," Bauer says. "If he wants to come and he's fit, he's got a chance to win (see sidebar for others Bauer considers contenders). But until the Tour de France is over, he probably doesn't want to think about it. I understand. From his perspective, the Tour is what it's all