Luke Rowe: 'Nothing will stop me racing Paris-Roubaix'

The Welshman crashed heavily at Tour of Flanders and has been suffering with injuries, but is still determined to perform on the pavé of Roubaix

Welshman Luke Rowe said that he was 'really gutted' after crashing out of contention in the Tour of Flanders. He'll be looking for something more for the team on Sunday.

(Image credit: Daniel Gould)

Team Sky's Luke Rowe, after crashing in the Tour of Flanders, says that nothing will stop him racing Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

>>> Ian Stannard: ‘I don’t think I deserve my hardman reputation. I just get on with my job’

Rowe will lead Sky's charge with Ian Stannard and Gianni Moscon over the 257km in northern France.

"If you stop, you get stiff and your body gets filled with fluid and you feel terrible," Rowe said of not missing his training days after crashing.

The crowd behind Rowe on Wednesday cheered for Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors) in his hometown of Mol ahead of the Scheldeprijs. The Welshman described Sky's reconnaissance ride on Paris-Roubaix's cobbles on Tuesday.

"It was quite painful, but you have to keep going. It's Paris-Roubaix, any other race, I'd have a few days off and let my body heal, but nothing's going to stop me performing to the best of my ability there.

"I still have a few bumps and bruises, but I'm still gunning for Roubaix."

He raced the last four editions and in 2015, placed eighth.

He crashed when Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) fell in front of him in the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.

Vanmarcke broke his finger and pulled the plug on his Classics season. Rowe continued, but suffered scrapes and bruises down his right side.

The Sky riders rode through the first pavé sections up until the Forest of Arenberg already before Flanders and on Tuesday, the sections afterwards up until the Roubaix velodrome.

"It was super dry when we previewed it. It'll be one of those epic dusty editions. A car went in front of us for one section and we couldn't see anything yesterday. It was proper dusty, so dry," added Rowe.

"It's another race similar to Flanders, open, people aren't afraid of racing further and further out.

"I was just thinking, how far are they going to go? That split on the Muur when [Philippe] Gilbert went in Flanders, I thought, that's a long way to go, but you see them succeed going further and further out.

"The bigger teams are trying to beat [Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet] and the only way to do it is to isolate those guys.

"Certainly, the Classics are being raced differently, more aggressively and earlier than I've raced before in the last four or five years."

Team Sky's 2017 Paris-Roubaix squad includes three race debutants, with British riders Owain Doull and Jon Dibben taking part for the first time.
(Image credit: Daniel Gould)

Stannard is best equipped for Roubaix, where he placed third in 2016.

Both the British pair and Italian Moscon will try to turn around Sky's 2017 cobbled campaign. As Rowe pointed out, the best they had so far was his third place in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Of course, Michal Kwiatkowski won the Italian monument Milan-San Remo.

"It hasn't been a good Classics season, as simple as that. It's a bit of a cop out, but luck has a lot to do with it. A few races haven't gone our way. It's no excuse, but it is a factor.

"We really have to go into Roubaix and take the positive out of the past months. The team is going well and physically we are feeling good. Hopefully, we can pull one out of the bag."

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