Team Sky’s best hope in the cobbled Classics sets out his ambitions for 2019
Luke Rowe is hoping the stars will align for him this season in his hunt for a major Classics win.
Welshman Rowe has had one-day glory within his grasp on numerous occasions, but has so far fallen short of the big win.
Having returned from a horrific leg break suffered in 2017, the 28-year-old hopes the new season could be turning point in his career.
Rowe said: “I definitely want to get more out of the Classics. I don’t feel like I’ve reached my full potential and fully shown myself there.
“The years are ticking by. It’s not like I’m the new kid on the block anymore, I’m entering my eighth year as a pro.
“Last year, I finished Roubaix in an ambulance and Flanders with 50km to go, disqualified.
“It just didn’t really go to plan at all. The year before I crashed heavily in Flanders while in the front group.
“That’s the Classics for you. You’re getting in crashes, wrong place wrong time, while in previous years I was always right war, right place.”
Rowe’s best spring results have shown his potential on the cobbles – fifth in the 2016 Tour of Flanders, eighth in Paris-Roubaix in 2015 and third in the 2017 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
But in recent years crashes and injury have hindered the Cardiff-born pro’s form.
In 2017, Rowe suffered a horrific leg break after he jumped into water while rafting in the Czech Republic.
After undergoing surgery, Rowe returned to racing in early 2018 but suffered crashes in his target races.
He said: “[Recovering from the leg injury] is an on-going process and it could be that way for the rest of my life.
“I had another operation this winter where I had a couple of screws taken out.
“The rod itself is still in and probably will be for the rest of my life. That’s the way it is.
“It’s not necessarily ever going to get 100 per cent better, but we’re pretty much 90 per cent of the way and I think that’s where it’s going to stay.
“I’m back riding my bike and that’s all that matters to me – that I could get back to where I was and I’ve achieved that.”
Rowe is due to open his season at the Tour Down Under in Australia, before turning his focus to the Classics, and the Tour de France.
He also hopes to ride the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships later this year, having missed the last two Worlds due to injury.
Rowe said: “They don’t come around very often, a World Champs on home soil.
“In the last few years, I don’t think we’ve lived up to our expectations and as a nation we really want to put on a performance on home soil and get a result out of the team.”