Rowe commits future to Wales

Dani Rowe has begun training with the Welsh Cycling team

Dani Rowe has begun training with the Welsh Cycling team

Olympic gold medallist Dani Rowe hopes to compete for Wales at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, having previously represented England.

As Dani King, she won team pursuit gold at London 2012 but has focused on the road since 2014.

The 27-year-old married Welshman Matthew Rowe, brother of Team Sky rider Luke, in October.

“I’m hoping to be considered for selection for Team Wales for the 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Rowe tweeted.

“Wales is a country that has produced so many incredible cyclists and, if selected, I hope I can continue to do the country proud.”

Rowe, a three-time world champion on the track, will be riding for the Woawdeals Pro Cycling team, formerly known as WM3 Pro Cycling, for the 2018 season.

It is possible that Rowe could double up on track and road for Wales at the Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast, which start on 4 April.

“My connections with Wales and Welsh Cycling go back to 2009 when I started to be coached by Courtney Rowe – the father of my husband Matt,” Rowe said.

“I have therefore had a strong affinity and love for the country where I now live and call home, for the whole of my professional cycling career.”


As Dani King, she competed for England at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

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Tour de Yorkshire 2018: Mark Cavendish wants to compete in four-day race

Mark Cavendish

Mark Cavendish won Olympic silver on the track in Rio last year

Mark Cavendish says he “definitely” wants to race in next year’s four-day Tour de Yorkshire.

The 2018 race, a legacy of the Tour de France Grand Depart Yorkshire hosted in 2014, will take place from 3-6 May and also feature a two-day women’s race.

Cavendish, 32, who has won 30 stages of the Tour de France, said he cannot yet confirm his place in the race, which will finish in Leeds.

But he admitted his mother’s home county is a “special place to ride”.

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The race includes routes from Beverley to Doncaster, Barnsley to Ilkley and Richmond to Scarborough.

The final stage will start in Halifax and finish in the centre of Leeds.

It will be the first time the city’s centre has been closed off for an international race since the 2014 Tour de France.

“The people in Yorkshire are the friendliest people you’ll meet,” Cavendish said. “When you see the amount of people who line the road, it really does help us. It’s really nice to see that much support for cycling and for the British athletes. It’s something that you do remember and it gives you goosebumps.”

Cavendish, a sprint specialist who won the world road title in 2011, is very familiar with the route, as his mother is from Harrogate.

The Manxman was favourite to win the first stage of the 2014 Tour de France, which finished in Harrogate, but dislocated his shoulder when he crashed during the sprint finish.

He managed to eventually cross the finish line, but was unable to take part in the rest of the Tour.

“Getting the fourth day is a major thing for us,” said Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of race organisers Welcome to Yorkshire.

“It gives it a balance for the men’s race with two flat stages and two stages for attackers, allowing us to attract different riders.”

The women’s race doubles in length from one to two days for the 2018 edition and will take place on 3-4 May, over a similar route as the men but racing in the morning.

Yorkshire rider Lizzie Deignan, who won the road world title in 2015, won last year’s race by 55 seconds.

Yorkshire will also host the 2019 World Road Championships and Verity has said that every Tour de Yorkshire leading up to then is a “dress rehearsal”.

The route

Stage one is a 180km race from Beverley to Doncaster for the men, shorter for the women, and with only 660m of climbing, is expected to favour the sprinters.

The second stage ends with a summit finish at the famous Cow and Calf Rocks on Ilkley Moor after a 148km race from Barnsley – again the women’s race will be shorter.

Stage three will be a familiar finish on Scarborough’s North Shore after starting in Richmond and taking in the north Yorkshire moors.

And the finale promises to be an intriguing stage, with 3,400m of climbing before finishing on the Headrow outside the Town Hall, where the 2014 Tour de France began.


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Team Sky’s Thomas to listen to other offers

Geraint Thomas (r) with Chris Froome

Geraint Thomas (r) has helped Chris Froome (l) win four Tour de France titles

Team Sky cyclist Geraint Thomas says he will listen to offers from other teams as he aims to establish himself as a leader in Grand Tour races.

The double Olympic gold medallist, whose deal expires at the end of 2018, has been a target for several teams.

This year’s Giro d’Italia was his first Grand Tour as Sky’s leader but, with Chris Froome competing in 2018, Thomas will miss the race.

“This year my programme is based on what Froomey’s doing,” he said.

Speaking to BBC Sport Wales, Thomas added: “I’m certainly going to listen to some teams.

“Trek-Segafredo have shown an interest and there are some other teams as well. I certainly want to sit down and listen to what they’ve got to say.

“I’m not getting any younger. I don’t feel old, but I’m 31 now and I probably only have three or four more years at the very top, so I want to make the most of those.

“I’m not saying I want to leave or I’m going to but I certainly want to sit down and see what everyone has got to say.”

Thomas is a prominent figure for Team Sky and, along with Froome and Ian Stannard, is one of only three survivors from the original squad of riders from Sky’s debut season in 2010.

Having enjoyed success as a track racer earlier in his career, the Welshman has impressed since moving to the road with Sky, winning notable stage races such as Paris-Nice and the Tour of the Alps.

The 31-year-old has also excelled in his supporting role as a ‘super-domestique’, helping Froome win four Tour de France titles.

The Giro in May was Thomas’ first chance to lead Sky at a Grand Tour, one of cycling’s three most prestigious road races alongside the Tour and the Vuelta a Espana.

But after a promising start, he was forced to withdraw following a crash.

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Watch the crash that ended Thomas’ Giro hopes

He recovered superbly by becoming the first Welshman to wear the leader’s yellow jersey at the Tour de France, only for another injury – this time a broken collarbone – to end his race.

Thomas wants another chance to lead in a Grand Tour – whether it is with Sky or another team – and he will speak to Sky’s boss Sir Dave Brailsford to see if he can guarantee him those opportunities.

“That’s one thing I’ve got to sit down with Dave and talk about,” Thomas added.

“He’s texted me a few times and we’ve got a training camp next week so we’ve certainly got time to have a chat.

“It’s a team sport but at the same time every individual in that team has their own goals and aspirations, what they want to do in their career.

“I’d love to go to a couple more Grand Tours as a leader and fully target them and just see what I can do, whether that’s ninth, winning one, third or fourth, whatever really. It would be something I would really like to go for before hanging up my bike, so to speak.”

No Giro, but what about the Tour and Vuelta?

When Froome leads Sky at next year’s Giro, he will be aiming to become only the third man – after Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault – to hold all three Grand Tours at the same time.

Thomas says he would have “loved” to have had another go at the prestigious race in Italy but the silver lining to his absence is that he will be fresher for the Tour and, potentially, the Vuelta in August and September.

That could mean he is given a more prominent role with Sky, possibly even leading them in Spain.

“Yeah, I think so, and in the Tour as well, especially if Froomey does the whole Giro,” said Thomas.

“Last year was unfinished business but with Froomey going there he’s obviously going to be the main guy, so I don’t want to go there and just… I’ve ridden a lot of Grand Tours in support roles now, so I’m just looking to get those bigger opportunities myself.

“His whole preparation is totally different to normal and you just never know how he will be. He might be on his knees at the end and we [Team Sky] might need that second back-up guy to be there and be good. So that’s a nice goal to have.

“Obviously Froomey will still be the leader going into it but it might be more of a chance for me to have more of a go myself.

“The Vuelta after that could be a potential race for me to go into in the full team leader role.”

Meeting Elton John


Geraint Thomas with wife Sara and Elton John, with whom Thomas shares an agent

After a tumultuous, injury-ravaged last season, Thomas took some time off in the autumn but is now back in full training, preparing for a likely return to competition in February.

Although he has long been back on the strict regime of a professional athlete, he has still been able to enjoy the occasional night off, such as the evening when he attended an Elton John concert and then met the musician backstage afterwards.

“My management company, Rocket Sports, is part of Rocket Music, where Elton is the boss,” said Thomas.

“I was supposed to have met him on a few occasions and it hasn’t happened, so Sara, my wife, and I finally got to meet him.

“It was surreal because he’s a bit of a legend. He was a super nice guy and it was a great night.”

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Luke Rowe: Cyclist returns but knows another injury could end his career

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Welsh cyclist Luke Rowe is back on his bike, 4 months after breaking his leg in 25 places.

Welsh cyclist Luke Rowe is back in training four months after a career-threatening injury.

The 27-year-old suffered multiple fractures in his right leg in August while white-water rafting on his brother’s stag party in Prague.

The Team Sky rider is targeting a return to racing in 2018 despite the risk that a repeat of the injury could leave him having to learn to walk.

“If that tibia was to break again, I’d never ride a bike again,” he said.

Rowe, part of the team that helped Chris Froome win the Tour de France for a fourth time in 2017, suffered 25 separate fractures in his lower right leg and has a rod inserted inside his shinbone.

He has been advised the rod is likely to be left in permanently but has also been told the damage would be much more severe if he was to break the leg again, possibly even threatening his ability to walk.

“With leaving the rod in if I was to crash again and break my leg – break the tibia – essentially if the rod was to bend then the bone around it would shatter,” he added.

“If it happens it’s game over – 100%. You never know, but if it happened that tibia would be a hell of a mess so bike riding would be a no.

“Walking? I would probably walk again but it would take years of rehab.”


Luke Rowe (second from right) celebrates with 2017 Tour de France winner Chris Froome (l) and team-mates Michal Kwiatkowski and Christian Knees

Racing again ‘a scary thought’

In spite of the risks, Rowe is determined to be back in action in 2018 – possibly as early as April, though he is reluctant to put an exact timetable on his comeback.

“It’s quite scary thinking I’ll be racing… battling for position in the peloton going down hairy descents at 50-60-70kph. It is a scary thought,” he added.

“But I haven’t really thought about it. As soon as you think about that and think about the dangers you might as well retire, because you’ve got no chance so it is what it is.

“I’ve got to put it to the back of your mind and race like I’ve always raced.

“You know you race the Classics, you race the Tour and these massive races which of course bring danger.

“But, like I say, put it to the back of my mind, crack on. Got a job to do, go racing and hopefully stay on my bike.”

Time for a return?

Rowe says early concerns the injury would end his career frightened him.

He was also alarmed by the muscle loss after his leg came out of plaster, saying he had “one chicken leg and one normal leg”.

But Rowe is now confident he will be back racing in the next 12 months.

“We’re at the stage where I have ridden the bike, the odds are on my side that I will return 100% to where I was before – it’s not guaranteed yet but it’s looking that way,” he said.


Luke Rowe (centre) has helped Chris Froome (in yellow) during three of his four Tour de France victories

However, a timescale is difficult to pin down, with Rowe suggesting April 2018 is the earliest he is likely to be back in action.

“It’s hard to put a date on it. Each person heals and the body works in a different way. There’s a very vague date – but the Classics are out out of the equation.

“I’m not going to be 100% by April.”

Rowe does not rule out representing Wales at the Commonwealth Games – again in April – having been in the team in Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 when his compatriot Geraint Thomas won the Road Race and he finished fifth.

But any decision on a return would have to be taken in conjunction with Team Sky.

“We have spoken about it [Commonwealth Games]; it’s definitely a possibility,” he said.

“I’d have to speak to the team and look at the race programme and see what’s best for me and the team.

“The Commonwealth Games is a one day race and I’m going to be short of miles in the legs, so it’s whether you go to Australia and race 200k or stay in Europe and race a seven day stage race and bank 1000k or 1200k.

“I’d love love to be at Commonwealth Games. I race for GB, I race for Team Sky, but the jersey I genuinely most like to pull on is the Welsh jersey because it’s something I do every four years.

“But I’m not setting a date because you set yourself up to fail. I’ve said from day one I want to be back as soon as possible and that’s still the case whenever that is, whatever race that is, wherever in the world it is, I’ll take it.”

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