Cycling: The Kiwis carrying the flag at Tour de France

Paddy Bevin
Kiwi cyclist Paddy Bevin. Photo credit: Getty

While George Bennett's missing from the race, there are still plenty of Kiwi cyclists to keep an eye on at the Tour de France.

Newshub takes a look at the four New Zealanders gearing up for cycling's most famous Grand Tour.  

Name: Jack Bauer
Team: Mitchelton-Scott
Previous appearances: Four

The Nelson rider's a veteran in France and is a crucial piece of the puzzle for his Australian team. Bauer's versatility is one of his strengths - he's a force in the time trial, a workhorse on the flats and doesn’t mind kicking the pedals hard in the mountains.  

He moved to Mitchelton-Scott this season and has fitted in seamlessly. The 33-year-old came desperately close to New Zealand's first individual stage win at the Tour back in 2014.

His team controversially decided not to select sprinter Caleb Ewan in their squad, instead going all-in on England's Adam Yates and his yellow-jersey hopes.

Bauer always seems to pop up in the race, so don't be surprised to hear the commentators dropping his name in with regularity.

Kiwi road cycling legend Julian Dean, another with a colourful Tour de France history, is also part of the Mitchelton-Scott set-up as sport director.


Name: Paddy Bevin
Team: BMC Racing
Previous appearances: One

Bevin rode almost the entire Tour last year with a broken foot, after a nasty crash on the opening time-trial stage.

The 27-year-old switched to American team BMC this season and has rapidly improved his skills in the time trial.

He'll be supporting Aussie hope Richie Porte in the race, as the Tasmanian looks to bounce back from a crash of his own last year.

Bevin and BMC are among the favourites to win the team trial on Stage Three, while the 27-year-old will also be eager to impress in the individual time trial on Stage 20.

Bevin narrowly missed out on his debut World Tour win in the individual time trial at the Tour of California in May, while he's had success in the team event at Tirreno-Adriatico.

He's a gun against the clock.


Name: Dion Smith
Team: Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Previous appearances: One

Smith will head into his second Tour de France with plenty of confidence, after surviving a gruelling three weeks last year. The 25-year-old's found his form recently, finishing second at the Paris-Chauny one-day race and ending up third at the Tour of Belgium.

Smith recorded two top-15 stage finishes at the Tour last year and he's hoping for a top-10 result this time around. He's hopes be active in the first nine days, where the rolling roads and punchier climbs suit him better than the mountains later in the race.

He's pegged Stages Five and Six as opportunities to get in the thick of it, while he's also keen to get in the breakaway at some point. Smith will support French climber Guillaume Martin on the flats, helping him stay safe before they hit the mountains.

His Belgian team were aggressive in the Tour last year, so expect Smith and his mates to cause some fireworks in 2018.


Name: Tom Scully
Team: Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
Previous appearances: One

This is Scully's debut appearance in France, although he's ridden two other Grand Tours before. He'll do the hard work for Colombian Rigoberto Uran, who finished second in France last year.

Scully is another to keep an eye on in the time trial, after he finished 17th in the Giro TT in May. He'll also be a vital figure in the team time trial, with his American outfit hoping to keep pace with the other general classification contenders.

His team have been impressed by his work as a domestique during the classics over the last couple of years and are big fans of his reliability.

The Southlander will be carrying plenty of drink bottles over the three weeks, but he'll also be one of the men tasked with protecting Uran on the tricky Stage Nine, which features a lengthy stretch of cobblestones set to cause havoc in the race.