Bauer starstruck by fellow inductees

DEAN McNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:21 AM ET

Steve Bauer gets to meet his childhood heroes today as equals at the induction ceremonies for Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

Bauer will be enshrined in the hall as one of this country's best cyclists, with an Olympic Silver Medal and 11 consecutive appearances in the Tour de France on his resume.

But it is meeting members of the 1972 Team Canada hockey team that has the 46-year-old native of Fenwick really excited.

"I think it's fantastic to be inducted with the (1972) hockey team," Bauer said yesterday.

"I remember watching those games in high school ... I think I was in Grade 9. At the time I was a hockey nut.

"My dream was to grow up to be a pro hockey player."

But it would be a far different path that would take Bauer to the heights of the sporting world.

"I knew even as I was training for the (1984) Olympics," Bauer said, "that I wanted to make cycling my career ... to turn pro and put myself against the best in Europe."

Bauer became part of the Canadian sporting fabric in that summer of 1984 when he won the silver medal in the cycling road race event at Los Angeles.

And just four years later he became the first Canadian to wear the famed yellow jacket that marked the leader of the Tour de France.

Bauer competed in 11 Tours, making him a household name in Europe.

He retired from competitive racing in 1996 and began a new phase of his life that wasn't far removed from the sport he loves.

At 46, Bauer now operates Steve Bauer Bike Tours in the Niagara peninsula, where cyclists from around the world discover the beauty of one of Canada's most picturesque areas with a world-class athlete as a guide.

His firm also offers package tours of cycling road courses in France, Italy and Costa Rica for those who want to follow in the tire tracks of riders such as Lance Armstrong.

"Cycling is a life sport," Bauer said. "And with this business I get to keep my competitive juices alive and I get to be with other people who also love the sport."

Bauer will have another cyclist -- Curt Harnett -- inducted with him today, along with the Sun's own George Gross, baseball executive Paul Beeston, former major league pitcher Claude Raymond and speed skater Catrina Le May Doan, along with the Team Canada heroes.


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