Luke Rowe under 23 academy team pursuit 2008

Under 23 Great Britain Academy rider Luke Rowe finished fifth in the bunch sprint at the end of the third stage of the Tour de l’Avenir on Monday.

The 19 year-old from Cardiff is in his first season with the Italian-based Academy but has already shown he can take on the best Under 23 riders in the world by winning the ZLM Tour one-day race, which is part of the prestigious Nations Cup series.

Slovenia’s Marko Kump won the 189km stage from Le Thuit-Signol to Compiegne, northeast of Paris, where the Paris-Roubaix classic begins. Germany’s Andreas Stauff and Belgium’s Kris Boerkmans was third in the 100-rider bunch sprint.

All the other British riders finished in the same time after helping Rowe in the sprint. Pete Kennaugh was 55th, Andy Fenn was 76th, Jon McEvoy was 77th and Erik Rowsell was 89th. The Isle of Man’s Mark Christian retired during Sunday’s second stage.

Stage one winner Julien Berard (France B) kept the overall race lead. Rowe is now 18th at 1-48.

The Great Britain Under 23 Academy riders are riding the nine-day Tour de l’Avenir as final preparation for the world championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland.

Tuesday’s fourth stage is 197km across northern France from Compiegne to Sedan. It includes three fourth category climbs after 130km but is likely to end in another bunch sprint.

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