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Interview with Steve Bauer now Director of VIP Services at BMC Racing

by Ben Andrew

March 01, 2017 – Steve Bauer is Canada’s most decorated male road cyclist, wearing the yellow jersey of the Tour de France for a total of 14 days and finishing 4th overall at 1988 Tour where he also won a stage. He finished 2nd in the road race at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, 2nd in the road race at the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games, 3rd at the 1984 World Championships in the Elite men’s road race, and has been the Canadian men’s road champion on three occasions among many other accomplishments. Bauer was a member of professional teams including La Vie Claire, La Suisse, 7-Eleven and Saturn Cycling during his time as a professional between 1985 and 1996.

Bauer and friend  ©  Steve Bauer
After spending the last two years as the head coach of the National Cycling Centre in Milton, Ontario, Bauer is back working in Europe with World Tour team BMC as the Director of VIP Services. Pedal caught up with Bauer at the BMC Service Course in Europe, to check in with his new job, new digs and new friends (see above).

Tag Heuer  ©  Steve Bauer
How was your transition getting back over to Europe for your new job at BMC? 
Steve Bauer: The transition back to Europe has been super smooth and familiar. There are many people I know quite well in the organization beginning with GM Jim Ochowicz, CEO Gavin Chillcott, European Operations manager Noel Dejonckheere and Sporting manager Allan Peiper. Sport Directors Max Sciandri, Fabio Baldato, Valerio Piva, Yvon Ledanois were all professionals I raced against in my time or were team mates. The list goes deeper with associates who are still working as therapists or mechanics. It’s a great group to work with and I am enjoying it.

Tell us about your role on the team with the season getting underway…BMC has seen lots of early success.
SB: My role as Director of VIP services kicked off right away in Tour down Under as TAG Heuer developed an activation plan for the final three days of the race.  It was a busy three days and Ritchie Porte and the team were on top form. It was exciting to be part of the winning team while providing a second to none experience for the VIP guests in attendance. The BMC racing team has continued its success over the last weeks and Greg Van Avermaet has shown his winning ways in Het Nieuwsblad. Currently the team leads the World Tour rankings, so the momentum is good to start the season.

Richie Porte  ©  Steve Bauer
What’s it like to be back in the heart of the Pro race scene on a daily basis?
SB: It’s really great. I am sincere enjoying the excitement to be back in the mix and to watch the team race day in day out. In many ways the sport has not changed one iota. A professional bike racer who gets on the start line today needs to have the same perseverance, guts, determination, skill and fitness to win. I know what that is because I have been there and I truly admire the athletes who commit to that now. I am speaking to the essence of the sport within the bike race, the man to man battles.  However, so many things have changed, such as the approach to the sport. The necessary size of World Tour team’s organizations is vastly larger due to the demand and requirement to fulfill such an extensive race calendar. A World Tour team has many moving parts and as I write now, two huge truck / bus preparations are getting ready for departure. One for Italy (Strade Bianchi, Tirreno, Milan San Remo) and one for Paris Nice. The service course is buzzing getting ready for the next few weeks and after that it never stops. Classics, Tours, Grand Tours!

What’s the most exciting or notable experience so far?
SB: Richie Porte smashing it on the Paracombe climb and also on Willunga Hill to win both stages in Tour Down Under.

Cadel Evans and Richie Porte  ©  Steve Bauer
Have you run into any fellow Canucks?
SB: I gave shout outs to Boivin and Tuft as they raced by in the Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. I bumped into Antoine Duschene at the end of the Paddestraat cobbles in HN as he pulled out of the race. I spoke to Hugo Houle at the start of KbK. I reached out to see Randy [Ryan] Anderson at the Direct Energie bus but they were in team briefing so no luck. I missed Ben Perry but next time hopefully.

Tour of Oman  ©  Steve Bauer
Your Twitter feed has lots of Canuck input from Mattamy, etc?
SB: I worked with and met a lot of nice people in the town of Milton and cyclists young and older who came to ride our programs at the MNCC.

It started well and I am staying connected with the progress. A new youth cycling club will start up called the Milton Revolution CC. It will take some time and effort to evolve but will be a good spot to support grass roots development of kids getting into the sport. We need more of this happening in our country. Without the foundation of youth cycling growing and expanding and getting support from enthusiastic leaders, Canada’s Own the Podium [program] won’t have more athletes to own it. The more kids we have developing in the competitive stream of cycling, the more chance our country will have to compete internationally in the future. It’s a bit cliché, but it’s not rocket science is it.

All the best with the team and the rest of the season.
SB: Thanks

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