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“He’s progressed slowly and on a very nice progression line. He’s not made huge leaps and bounds, it’s been a really nice sort of build and he’s learnt a lot as he’s gone along,” 

Photo: Sirotti


06.12.2015 @ 13:21 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Luke Rowe hasn’t become a great rider overnight, but has slowly but surely earned the respect of the peloton by becoming a Classics leader for Team Sky and a great domestique in the stage races. Now, he is one of the peloton's most respected riders.


“He’s progressed slowly and on a very nice progression line. He’s not made huge leaps and bounds, it’s been a really nice sort of build and he’s learnt a lot as he’s gone along,” Rod Ellingworth, Rowe’s coach at Team Sky tells Cycling Weekly. “He’s pretty much ticked every box that we’ve set him, and he’s pretty ambitious. That’s the key thing; it doesn’t matter what we do around somebody, if their ambition is there then you’re on to a winner. That hasn’t changed.”


One of the major boxes Rowe ticked in 2015 was finishing his first Tour de France (only the third Welshman to do so) and helping teammate Chris Froome win the race. He also achieved personal success at Paris-Roubaix, stepping up when Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas faltered and Bradley Wiggins was too heavily marked to take eighth.


Rowe has grown so much as a rider that in 2015, he has often fulfilled the role as Sky’s road captain, organizing his teammates on the road and ensuring his leader is always in the right place.


“It’s not all that it’s built up to be; it’s a case of communicating to all the riders,” Rowe explains to Cycling Weekly. “If there is a decision which needs to be made on the road then it’s someone to make the final decision, that’s all it is. It’s something I’ve done before and I’m happy to do it,” he adds. “It can’t be over-talked, all it is is discussing amongst riders and making the final call.”


Rowe really showed his mental character at the Tour de France, where he and Ian Stannard were tasked with patrolling the front of the bunch for 16 days straight to ensure Chris Froome’s yellow jersey was always safe, dropping off hours before the stage finished and then making the time cut. To make matters worse, Rowe and the rest of the team received abuse from roadside fans as they believed Froome and his Sky teammates were doping as they couldn’t be that strong naturally.


“Everyone’s got their own story of what happened to them,” Rowe explains. “I got punched, spat at, abused, we had piss thrown at us. One day we had the team car finish with no wing mirrors because they both got hit off the car by spectators.”


“But it didn’t really get us down, we were just happy with every day just concentrating on one goal, which was taking the jersey to Paris, and we did it.”




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