As Sir Bradley Wiggins leaves Team Sky, Luke Rowe establishes himself with a strong ride in Paris-Roubaix

The king is dead, long live the king. Sir Bradley Wiggins may have failed in his attempt to win a Monument in his last outing for Team Sky but Luke Rowe’s impressive eighth place in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix showed his potential to be a future winner of the Hell of the North.

Still only 25, Rowe is almost 10 years younger than Wiggins and is just under four seasons’ experience short of fellow Welshman Geraint Thomas. This was undoubtedly Rowe’s best ever performance despite riding from half-distance with a wrecked wheel.

“The front wheel was really buckled. I opened the [brake release] lever all the way and rode most of the race with just a rear brake,” he explained.

With Wiggins and Thomas as joint team leaders, Rowe wasn’t even upgraded to a top slot until Geraint crashed out with 80km to go — as Rowe put it: “Sometimes someone else’s bad luck is your own good luck.”

He revelled in his promoted role, fighting to the end, attacking the chase group inside the final four kilometres with Jens Debusschere and then outsprinting the Belgian at the Roubaix velodrome. A truly courageous effort that bodes well for the future.

“That’s a wrap on the Classics. Best races of the year. Now for a beer,” announced our new hero, Rowe, on Twitter. No one can say he didn’t deserve it.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

  • Mark Jones

    A very impressive result from Luke Rowe, who always come across as a nice guy. Hopefully we will see more results like this from Luke and the other British riders in Team Sky and more Brits being given a chance to develop with the team in the future.