Rowe is still on the comeback trail after suffering from a severely broken leg in August. The injury occurred at his brother’s stag do while they were white water rafting in the Czech Republic. He broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg and doctors thought that he may have to have up to a year off the bike to recover.
However, having defied predictions of how long his recovery would take, Rowe made his season debut at the Abu Dhabi Tour in February.
After testing his legs on the cobbled roads of Belgium at the Nokere-Koerse on Wednesday, the Welshman feels that he is ready to tackle the first Monument of the season.
“I wouldn’t say I’m flying, far from it, but the form is slowly coming and building race-by-race,” said Rowe after Nokere-Koerse.
“That was only my second race back and there’s still a long way to go, but to be there with some good guys in the end, towards the front – not necessarily doing anything special, but being there – was good for morale.”
At 291 kilometres, Milan-San Remo is one of the longest races on the calendar – but Rowe appears undaunted at its distance and has the backing of Team Sky.
“A lot of questions have been answered through Abu Dhabi and Nokere, but I am heading into the unknown a little bit here, having not raced over five hours really,” said the 28-year-old.
“This race will probably be seven-plus, looking at the weather. We’ll see how we go. In those last few hours it will be another indicator of how it’s all going, but I’m fairly confident.”
He continued: “I spoke to the team and said I want to go into it all now, all guns blazing. Not really hold back and pick the easy route; just get stuck into it and race the races that I always have. Try and jump straight back into the thick of it.”
Team Sky has defending champion Michal Kwiatkowski at Milan-San Remo, and will be backing the Pole as its leader – particularly on the back of his overall win at Tirreno-Adriatico this week.
Rowe’s season will then pick up pace, as he goes from Milan-San Remo to the Coppi e Bartali stage race (March 22-25) but concedes that he will miss the Classics, such as E3 Harelbeke and Ghent-Wevelgem.
“Coming back and racing Abu Dhabi was way ahead of schedule, so that was great, but now I’m just trying to put the whole accident to the back of my mind, forget about it… I’m hoping for the best over the next six or eight months.”
Beyond riding in Coppi e Bartali, Rowe says that he and the team will “take it from there” when deciding the rest of his 2018 race programme.