Luke Rowe: ‘I don’t feel I’ve reached my full potential in Classics. The years are ticking by’

Team Sky’s best hope in the cobbled Classics sets out his ambitions for 2019

Luke Rowe at the 2018 Tour of Flanders (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

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.

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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.

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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.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.