He may not be putting a timeline on his comeback, but Luke Rowe is looking on the bright side as he continues his recovery from a broken leg at the start of August.
Rowe broke the tibia and fibula in his left leg while white water rafting during his brother’s stag party in Prague, fracturing the bones ‘into multiple pieces’ and being set for a considerable period off the bike.
Three months on, and steadily working on his rehabilitation, Rowe is optimistic about his chances of making a full recovery, receiving glowing reviews from Team Sky’s medical staff.
“From my point of view it’s been easy because you’ve got someone who’s motivated and wants to get better,” said Team Sky physiotherapist Nathan Thomas in a video on the team’s Facebook page.
“You would expect an athlete to be a bit more downbeat and see the negative side of things, but it’s a testament to Luke’s mental strength that he’s always seen the positive side and been jovial, thinking ‘when am I going to be back’.
“He’s also seeing this as an opportunity to come back even better than he was before the injury. An injury is an opportunity to become an even better athlete, and I think that he’ll do that.”
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Having been in the gym exercising in a wheelchair just three weeks after the crash, Rowe is now able to put weight on his injured leg, but admits that the rehabilitation has been a mental struggle as well as a physical one.
“It’s been busy and it’s been adventure,” Rowe said. “I’ve come a long way already, but there’s still a long way to go.
“Compared to being on a bike, mentally it’s harder because you’re not doing what you want to do, you’re doing what you have to do.”
Despite initial fears that the severity of Rowe’s injury could mean him missing the entirety of the 2018 season, the Welshman now seems optimistic that he will be back in action at some point next year, even if he is not yet at the point of setting a specific target for his comeback.
“I haven’t set myself a date or a race or a target. I’ve just said to myself ‘get back as soon as you can’,” Rowe continued. “Whether that’s Roubaix or the Tour or the Tour de Poitou-Charentes, I don’t care. I just want to be back as soon as possible, and whatever race it is I’ll be there as quick as I can.”
“Everyone knows that I’ve got a love of the Classics, but I think it’s going to be pretty unrealistic to be there. And that will be hard.
“I never took it [being a professional rider] for granted. I always knew how lucky I was and the level of racing that I was at. It gives you that Eye of the Tiger and you just want to get back and smash it. I’m looking forward to that even if it’s still a while away.”
The latest milestone in Rowe’s recovery was his first bike ride since the crash, as he completed a few laps of the velodrome in Newport on Saturday.
He has previously said that he hopes to attend some of Team Sky’s pre-season training camps, hoping to get to know some of the team’s new recruits and be involved in planning for the year ahead.