Neo-pro Luke Rowe is relishing the prospect of riding the Ardennes Classics after producing a star turn on his Team Sky debut at the Revolution track meet on Saturday.
Rowe, a product of British Cycling’s Academy, took victory in the scratch race and Australian pursuit in what was the neo-pro’s first appearance in Team Sky colours.
The 21-year-old is a three-time national madison champion on the track but will now focus on the road, starting with Challenge Majorca in February, a series of five one-day races on the Spanish island. Rowe’s race programme will then build towards the Ardennes Classics; the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège.
The Welshman is under no illusions as to his role throughout the campaign – but admits he has eyes on winning some of cycling’s biggest one-day races in the future.
“I’m raring to go,” said the Welshman, who is now in Majorca for his second Team Sky training camp. “A few months ago I found out I was riding for Sky, then you’re waiting for the new year to get your kit, now it’s January and the next thing is racing. We all know our schedules up until the Tour [de France] and my biggest races will probably be some of the Ardennes Classics.
“I’ll be playing a supportive role, for sure. I’m not going to be going to some of the biggest races in the world and looking for a result yet. I’ll be there purely to support and I’ve been told that. There will be riders who are there to win so if we can build our team around them, then hopefully they can win and I’ll be there to support them.
“The cobbled Classics are always good to watch. I’ve ridden them as an amateur and I’ve gone pretty well so in the future I want to build into a cobbled Classics rider.”
Revolution 35 featured a strong continental contingent, including six-day rider Chris Grasmann, who, with Adam Yates and Harry Tanfield, helped Maxgear Racing to victory in the team elimination race.
In the 1km madison time trial, CHEP UK’s Jonathan Dibben and Morgan Kniesky beat Sky duo Rowe and Andreas Muller, while Jon Mould edged out Rowe for victory in the elite points race.
Tandem racing for the first time and two British and two Dutch teams battled it out across an omnium format which included a 200m time trial, match sprinting and the Revolution finale, a tandem kilo, with Craig MacLean and Anthony Kappes taking victory.
In the DHL Future Stars competition, Emily Kay and Jake Ragan both kept their impressive leads with consistent performances on the night, and are now in the driving seat to take overall victory in the final last Revolution event. Maxgear Racing displaced Team UK Youth at the top of the overall team standings, with 501 points ahead of 494.
If you missed Revolution 35 you can watch the hour-long highlights package on Monday January 9 on ITV4 at 7pm. The season’s final Revolution meet will feature four-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy on Saturday January 28. Limited tickets are still available at www.cyclingrevolution.com
All photos © Chris Keller-Jackson