Rowe impressing at Tour after defying odds

11 Jul 2018

Rowe impressing at Tour after defying odds

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Watching Luke Rowe guide Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas through the opening days of the Tour de France you’d have no idea that, 11 months ago after breaking his leg in a white water rafting accident, his career was in doubt - and the 2018 Tour a mere dream.

And yet here he is, after defying the odds all season. He returned ahead of schedule at the Abu Dhabi Tour, before riding his way back into the Classics team and impressing at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
 
Only then, after achieving his goal of riding the Classics, did he turn his attention to the Tour. Rides at the Tour de Romanide, Tour of California and Criterium du Dauphine convinced the team he was ready - and persuaded Rowe himself that he could do it.
 
How does he feel compared to this time a year ago? “I’m feeling pretty much the same,” he explains. “It’s got to the point now where it’s kind of 50/50 between the legs and that’s been a long time to get that like it is. A lot of hard work, surrounded by a great network of people has made that possible. I’m relishing the opportunity to be here, racing with a great bunch of lads.”
Luke Rowe

Luke Rowe

A lot of hard work, surrounded by a great network of people has made that possible. I’m relishing the opportunity to be here, racing with a great bunch of lads.
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After ticking every box on his road to recovery it was in the aftermath of the Tour of California that he got the nod for the Tour team and his biggest tick yet.
 
“Yeah it was after California, really. It’s relatively early to know but then it still comes down to the final selection. I knew I was pretty certain of a spot quite early on which is nice because it takes the pressure off a little bit. You can just go to the races and do your job and not worry about anything else.
 
“I went to California and that’s where I really convinced myself. If I wasn’t ready for this I’d have put my hand up straight away — there’s nothing worse than coming to a race if you’re not up to scratch. After that I was confident I could come here and perform.”
 
Now, nearly a year on from his injury, Rowe would rather talk about racing than his recovery and he has relished the opening days of the Tour, despite the reduction in team sizes from nine to eight.
 
“Everyone has really pitched in,” he enthuses. “We use guys at different points during the stage and save guys like myself and Kwiato, the last guys, until the final kilometres. I’m sure someone like Wout won’t mind me saying these flat days aren’t really his forte but he’s committing and giving everything he can. That’s what it takes. Then in the mountains it won’t be my forte but I’ll be giving all I can and that’s the attitude you’ve got to have.
 
“On these flatter days I’ve got a role to play and I feel like I’ve been doing my job but it’s a team effort and everyone is buying into one goal. That’s what it takes.”
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At the Dauphine Rowe was on hand to help compatriot Thomas to the biggest win of his career and he’s delighted to see his old friend, currently sat third overall, impressing on French roads.
 
“There’s no doubt he’s in the form of his life,” continued Rowe. “You can just see in the way he’s riding. He’s obviously confident which is important as well. And that win at the Dauphine can't be overlooked. It depends on your opinion but in my eyes it’s the fourth biggest stage race there is, after the three Grand Tours.
 
“To win that in itself is massive. It’s going to be interesting to see what he can do here over the next two and a half weeks but for sure he can do something special.
 
“Froomey is still number one of course, but it’s clear that we’ve got two guys to support and two guys to protect. We’ll give everything we can to both of them and if G can get top 10, top five, podium, win it — we don’t know! We can only dream. I’m sure he’s not going to be far off the podium.
 
“I’ve known him for so long, we grew up as kids, riding for Maindy Flyers, bombing round the local lanes, just two young lads going through the system with GB and up through the ranks together. It’s pretty cool actually. How often does that happen? We were just two kids messing around on BMXs, then we got road bikes, and tried to climb the ranks together. It’s great to see him doing so well.”
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