Luke Rowe has become a stalwart of the Tour de France peloton over the last four years, relishing his position as the Team Ineos road captain.
The Welshman has supported the British WorldTour outfit to four consecutive wins in France, as Ineos looks to make it five in a row in 2019.
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Rowe has shared his thoughts on the upcoming race, as he will ride in support of 2018 winner and compatriot Geraint Thomas.
“I must be a good luck charm” Rowe said four days before the Grand Départ in Brussels on Saturday (July 6).
“Four wins out of four – it’s been a surreal experience to be involved in all of those wins.
“It’s crazy really. I’ve been very fortunate to be alongside some great champions and played my part to help us get over the line. Long may it continue.”
At the 2019 Tour, Ineos have been forced to rethink their strategy after four-time winner Chris Froome suffered a horrific crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné that means he will miss the race.
Instead the team are backing last year’s winner Thomas, with Colombian revelation Egan Bernal as a back-up.
On the chances of the two potential leaders, Rowe said: “Whether we can replicate what we did last year, who knows. I think G’s ready. He’s had a slow patient build up and he’s looking great.
“We’ve also got Egan who is in great shape as we saw in [the Tour de] Suisse.
“We are all hungry and ready for more success at the Tour – there’s no reason why we can’t do it all again.”
Rowe joined the team in 2012, then racing under the Sky Procycling banner, riding his debut Tour de France in 2015 where aided Chris Froome to his second yellow jersey.
He has since become an intrinsic part of the Team Ineos Tour squad, where he drives the pace on the front of the peloton and acts as tactician in key moments of the race in his role as road captain.
“My job is predominantly to keep the guys in a good position, do what I can throughout the flat stages and suffer through the mountains – a jack of all trades, master of none if you like.
“Being road captain sounds more glamorous than it is. In simple terms, I’ll be the one who communicates between the riders and the guys in the cars. I’ll make those split-second calls if needed. It’s a big responsibility but one I enjoy.”
Rowe is a formidable Classics specialist in his own right, with top-ten finishes in both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, but a Monument victory continues to elude him.
He added: “I race 90 days a year and spend 80 days supporting others – I know my role within this team and I enjoy it. I get great satisfaction out of helping others win big races like the Tour.”
“It’s role-acceptance and I’m more than happy to do the job and help the boys.”