Team Sky road captain Luke Rowe had a bittersweet day at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, demonstrating form which convinced him he is fully recovered from multiple leg fractures last August – despite getting disqualified from the race.
Rowe said he had been at the back of the main group of favorites when he said a touch of wheels caused him and a couple of other riders to have to jump onto the bike-path alongside the road.
“It was either go on the bike path or crash,” he said.
“It wasn’t as if I tried to fly through people, I got back onto the road at the back of the group and took the next right-hander at the back, which is the worst place to be.”
But the race commissaries, having seen him among spectators on the bike path, pulled him from the race.
Up until that point Rowe had been a constant presence at the front of the race, most covering other team’s moves or protecting team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski. He said: “I think I’m back to my best, I felt good the whole day.”
He added: “To be in the final of Flanders, one of the biggest races of the year, in a group of 30 after all the fighting throughout the day and the fighting throughout the last six months and to get pulled out of the race, it’s a tough one to take.”
Rowe added that he had had his eye on racing Flanders throughout his recovery from multiple fractures to his leg sustained on his brother’s stag weekend last August.
He said: “I’ve got a week until Paris-Roubaix and this disqualification just feeds the fire.”