Team Sky's Luke Rowe isn't letting the prospect of his first Grand Tour ride faze him with just three days remaining until the Vuelta a Espana kicks off in Vilanova de Arousa this Saturday.
The 23 year old second year was named in Sky's nine man squad for the year's third Grand Tour on Tuesday afternoon and will ride in support of Colombian team leader and overall contender Sergio Henao.
"I'm looking forward to getting into the rhythm of racing and just trying to enjoy it as much as possible," Rowe told Cycling Weekly from Nice, where he has been training in the heat and the hills to acclimatise his body to the gruelling upcoming race after hosting the inuagural Hitters' GP at home in Wales.
"It's going to be a brutal three weeks but looking forward to getting the ball rolling. We've got a couple of days to prepare for the [opening stage] team time trial and after that it's a case of ticking off the days until we get to Madrid."
After being part of Sky's Classics squad in the early part of the season, a first Grand Tour in Spain has long been on the cards for the man from Cardiff.
He last raced two weeks ago at the Vuelta a Burgos as final preparation for its three week big brother, which this year features 11 summit finishes including the fearsome Alto del Angliru.
"I raced Burgos which was perfect preparation; a lot of the guys racing the Vuelta were there," he added. "In terms of training I've done nothing out of this world, I've just kind of kept things real."
While getting through the next three weeks in a support role for Henao and Sky's sprinter Edvald Boasson Hagen is his immediate concern, Rowe also has one eye on the World Championships road race and another crack at the cobbled Classics next season.
"You ask anyone about a Grand Tour and they say the next year you really reap the rewards," he said. "My big goal is to finish the thing, so if I can get through it, get a spot in the Worlds road race which is quite a big goal, and then really take it into next year and the Classics.
"Suffering hour on end up a climb its only going to benefit you, whatever type of rider you are, so I think you can only take positives from hurting yourself up a climb!"
Quintana storms to Burgos victory
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Richard Abraham is an award-winning writer, based in New Zealand. He has reported from major sporting events including the Tour de France and Olympic Games, and is also a part-time travel guide who has delivered luxury cycle tours and events across Europe. In 2019 he was awarded Writer of the Year at the PPA Awards.
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