The sky is the limit now for Welsh ace Rowe
Gary Baker on 26/03/2012
It has been a long road for Cardiff rider Luke Rowe, covering many miles with plenty of ups and downs over the years.
But the rising star is now blossoming among the big guns of Britain's elite cycling outfit, Team Sky.
Rowe was given the early Christmas present he most wanted last Autumn when Sky offered him a one-year contract to join the likes of fellow Cardiff star Geraint Thomas and other international names like Tour de France heroes Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish in the elite squad.
He was 22 on March 10 but has already had two early birthday gifts by riding alongside Cavendish in the Tour of Oman last month and then making his senior début in the Three Days of West Flanders road race in Belgium.
Now Rowe is looking to build on his bright start to his first professional contract with a ProTour team, although it is a bit too early for him to contemplate riding for Sky in one of the Grand Tours - the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy) and Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain) - just yet.
Rowe, whose father Courtney is a top cycling coach and brother Matt is also a rider, said: "A lot of riders, when they get on a team like this, will relax and say 'I have made it' but me and my coach are looking at getting the second contract sorted out already.
"It will be a massive season for Team Sky and GB (Great Britain) with the Olympics in London coming up."
He finished a highly-encouraging 14th overall out of the 189 starters on the Three Days of West Flanders race at the start of this month and also came home in a creditable 86th overall in the Tour of Oman in February.
Rowe admitted that riding with such big name men was daunting to start with but now he is becoming one of the team.
"To be able to race alongside Cavendish and the other guys in the team is superb. I have also learnt so much from racing with some of the older guys like Jez (Jeremy) Hunt and Matt Hayman. It's a welcome experience."
Even the rain did not deter the youngster when riding the Three Days of West Flanders, which incorporated a Prologue on a six-kilometre course plus two stages of 181.5kms and 186.5km respectively.
"There were a lot of cobbles," said Rowe, "but I have ridden similar before in the Under-23 Tour of Flanders and the Under-23 Paris-Roubaix.
"This was my fifth race for the team and they have all been very decent races to be in.
"I don't think I will be riding any of the Grand Tours. I doubt that they will put a first-year pro in there because it will be too much for me.
"But hopefully that will come as I have a long and successful career.
"From the start I have had this year, I don't think I'm out of my depth at all at this level. It's going from strength to strength."
The Olympics in London could still be a possibility for Rowe but he is not pushing too hard, too soon. Establishment in the big time is the main aim during 2012 and then the sky, as they say, is the limit!
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