Canada’s Bauer looking forward to new role as sports director of Astana-Premier Tech

Canada’s Bauer looking forward to new role as sports director of Astana-Premier Tech

Steve Bauer, a Canadian cycling icon, likes what he sees in his new role as sports director of Astana.

The 61-year-old from Fenwick, Ont., who now calls St. Catharines, Ont., home, joined the joint Kazakh-Canadian team in late November.

“I’m very happy. It’s a new chapter,” Bauer said in an interview. “It’s a very solid team, very diversified, well established over many, many years. It’s evolved over time but I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and working hard to win some races.”

Astana Pro Team becomes Astana-Premier Tech in 2021 with Canada’s Premier Tech taking a title sponsorship role. Its 31-man riding crew includes Canadians Hugo Houle and Ben Perry.

Former Astana rider Dmitriy Muravyev, a native of Kazakhstan, is also joining the team as sports director.

Key Astana riders include Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang, Russia’s Aleksandr Vlasov and the Spanish brothers Gorka and Ion Izagirre. Miguel Angel Lopez, a highly touted 26-year-old from Colombia, is leaving Astana for Movistar in 2021.

Pandemic permitting, Bauer expects to be on the road with Astana at races.

“The lead sports director at each race takes care of everyone,” he explained. “He’s kind of the boss on site.”

It’s a role he’s handled before with other teams.

“The experience I have, I’m ready to do whatever Astana-Premier Tech asks me to do,” he said. “Because I’ve kind of seen it all the last couple of years.”

While Bauer believes cycling teams have learned to live in a bubble with constant COVID-19 testing, he says the 2021 schedule depends on local government regulations. Astana’s normal pre-Christmas camp was done remotely this year.

Bauer is familiar with both Canadian riders on the Astana roster. The 26-year-old Perry grew up in the St. Catharines area, impressing as a junior.

“I’ve watched him evolve into Europe and doing some nice things,” said Bauer. “I think he’s challenged with the WorldTour. I think he’s working hard to see if he can grow his abilities within our group and our team is giving him a shot to show that.”

Houle started under Bauer as a young rider in 2011-12 with Team SpiderTech Powered by C10.

“The great thing about Hugo is he moved on and established himself on the WorldTour and continues to race exceptionally well,” said Bauer. “This year’s Tour de France, I was very impressed with his racing. He’s very strong and very attentive and tactically he raced super well. It’s going to be nice to connect with Hugo on the Tour.”

Houle, a native of Sainte-Perpetue, Que., is one of several riders who will be reporting directly to Bauer.

Now 30, Houle has been racing professionally on the UCI WorldTour since 2013, first with AG2R La Mondiale (2013-17) and then Astana (2018 on).

Houle likely doesn’t get the plaudits he deserves. As Bauer notes, sports loves winners and in cycling there’s only one race winner “but there’s 200 starters.”

“Hugo’s a solid team man. He will have his chance to win. He has the ability, for sure, to win something big. It’s always about timing and it’s about the opportunity and the right moment.”

A Canadian road race champion from 1981 to 1983, Bauer won silver at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia. He also won silver in the individual road race at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, collecting Canada’s first medal in cycling since the 1908 Games and first ever in road cycling.

Following the Olympics, he claimed bronze at the UCI World Championships in Barcelona.

Bauer competed in 11 straight editions of the Tour de France between 1985 and 1995. He finished fourth overall in 1988 after winning a stage and spending five days in the leader’s yellow jersey. In 1990, he wore the yellow jersey for nine consecutive days.

Bauer was just the second Canadian in history to lead the Tour, after Alex Stieda in 1986.

After retiring, Bauer launched his own bike tour company before turning his attentions to helping run such pro teams as Planet Energy, SpiderTech and CCC (formerly BMC Racing). He also served worked at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Ont.

In 2005, Bauer was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.


Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 23, 2020

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press


Just Posted

A gofundme account has been set up for Lilac the husky, of Blackfalds. (Photo from gofundme)
Dog ends up in coma after a walk in Blackfalds

Dog finds a baggie that likely contained drugs

Red Deer man reported missing

Red Deer RCMP seek public’s assistance

An attendee of the Maskwacis memorial held on May 31, 2021, for the 215 school children found in Kamloops, B.C. the week before, holds a teddy bear. <ins>The grandstand was filled with 215 bears to represent the lost children. They were offered to residential school survivors at the end of the memorial. </ins>(Photo illustration by Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven before a confidence vote in the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday June 21, 2021. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven faces a no-confidence vote in the Riksdag parliament, after the Left Party said this week that it had lost confidence in Lofven and his center-left minority government. (Anders Wiklund / TT via AP)
Swedish PM loses confidence vote, sparking uncertainty

Prime minister has one week to call new election or ask parliament speaker to find a new government

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border measures start easing in July for fully vaccinated Canadians

OTTAWA — Fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents returning to Canada will… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Canada to unveil travel rules for fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents

OTTAWA — Canada is set to detail what quarantine rules citizens and… Continue reading

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky poses for a photo in Toronto on Monday, October 17, 2016. Two of Canada’s most prominent athletes are part of the ownership group of a new Las Vegas National Lacrosse League franchise. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu
Wayne Gretzky, Steve Nash join forces with Las Vegas lacrosse team

League’s 15th team will start play in the fall of 2022

Orlando City and Montreal Impact players take a knee before their MLS match, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
CF Montreal finds two new home venues as Gold Cup comes to Fort Lauderdale

Exploria Stadium has been Toronto FC’s home field this year

Police and firefighters respond after a truck drove into a crowd of people injuring them during The Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival in Wilton Manors, Fla., on Saturday, June 19, 2021. WPLG-TV reports that the driver of the truck was taken into custody. (Chris Day/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
Officials say deadly Pride parade crash was not intentional

Driver and the victims were a part of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus family

FILE - In this April 18, 2017, file photo, a conference worker passes a demo booth at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, in San Jose, Calif. Facebook is launching podcasts and live audio streams in the U.S. Monday, June 21, 2021, to keep users engaged on its platform and to compete with emerging rivals.(AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)
Facebook launches podcasts, live audio service

Handful of podcasts will first be available to people in the U.S.

Intricate cloth masks with Indigenous design made by Teresa Snow. Facebook/ Masks4Maskwacis
‘Masks 4 Maskwacis’ wins Northern Lights Volunteer Award

The group received recognition for their efforts to support their community during COVID-19.

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read