Warning: this article is not for the squeamish

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Luke Rowe has described in graphic detail the broken leg that he sustained while whitewater rafting on his brother’s stag do, revealing that he could be out for more than a year.

The Welshman, who was already recovering from breaking a rib on stage two of the Tour de France, fractured the tibia and fibula in his right leg when he jumped into the water while rafting in the Czech Republic.

“I knew straight away how serious it was, it was excruciating pain and there are quite a few broken bones. It was a case of trying to get out of the water as quickly as possible and into an ambulance,” Rowe told BBC Wales Sport.

“I lifted my leg, but my foot stayed still, it was kind of hanging off, limp. The bone didn’t break the skin, but it is pretty scary when you look down and see that when you are on the side of a riverbank.”

Rowe described the incident as a “freak accident” and that he immediately knew how bad the injury was. Since being flown from Prague back to Cardiff, the 27-year-old has had one surgery, and said that he’d have to wait and see how he reacted to subsequent operations before a timeline could be set for his recovery.

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“I’ve been asking the doctors time and time again. When can I train? When can I walk? When can I get back on a bike?” Rowe continued.

“The first questions I asked were for dates because you get impatient. But essentially the doctors are all telling me the same thing. We do know that operation by operation, scan by scan, it will get better. But the timescale? We just don’t know that.

“It’s a moment in your career where your back is against the wall and you really need to roll your sleeves up. It’s going to be a tough few months for me and it could be up to 9-12 months – that’s realistic.”

Rowe has proved himself a highly valuable member of Team Sky over the past few years, both as a team leader in the cobbled Classics, and as road captain at major stage races including the Tour de France.