'I thought I was more in the door than I was' - Luke Rowe bares all on Vuelta a España snub

Welshman will not race a Grand Tour this year after he missed out on selection by Ineos Grenadiers

Luke Rowe wearing SunGod sunglasses
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Luke Rowe has revealed he felt a "gutting" sense of disappointment at not being selected for Ineos Grenadiers’ Vuelta a España squad.

The British team will travel to Spain this weekend with Geraint Thomas as its general classification hopeful. He will be joined by Egan Bernal, Thymen Arensman, Jonathan Catroviejo, Laurens de Plus, Omar Fraile, Filippo Ganna and Grand Tour-debutant Kim Heiduk. 

As a result of his non-selection, Rowe will miss out on riding a Grand Tour this year for the first time since 2012. 

Speaking on Watts Occurring, the podcast he hosts with team-mate and 2018 Tour de France winner Thomas, Rowe explained that he was expecting to be part of the Vuelta squad. 

“I’ve gone all in for this Vuelta, and I didn’t make the cut,” said the 33-year-old, who shaved his head specially for the race. “If I’m honest, I’m pretty f*cking gutted, actually. For the last four months, it has been all towards this. I’ve raced, done some nice races, I’ve trained really well, and all the signs were pointing in the right direction.

“Maybe it’s a bit my naivety, really, that I thought I was more in the door than I really was.” 

Rowe went on to describe the moments after he was told by Ineos Grenadiers that he would not join the team in Spain. “When they called me, your first reaction is, ‘Oh for f*ck’s sake’, and a bit of anger,” he said. 

“I just said to [my wife] Cath, ‘I’m going to go to the fridge and open a bottle of wine and I’m going to drink it,’ well, with her, I wasn’t going to drink the whole thing. Then I’m going to go out on the town, and I’m going to send it. I got home in the early hours of the morning, had a hangover day, and the next afternoon, I was like, ‘Right that’s it now. That’s done. Get on with it now.’”

Rowe will now undertake a new end-of-season race programme, which he has chosen not to specify. 

“A career is full of highs and lows,” he said. “You can be going really well, looking forward to great things, and then the next moment told you can’t do those great things and you can’t go on that mission.

“Deep down, it’s pretty gutting, and it does hurt not to make the cut. But, you know, they’ve got eight great blokes there.” 

The 2023 Vuelta a España begins this Saturday 26 August in Barcelona. 

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