Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas have been named in Team Sky’s squad for the 2015 Tour de France, the first time two Welshmen will compete together in the world’s biggest cycling event.
For Geraint Thomas, this years’ Tour will be his sixth. In 2013, Thomas was part of the Team Sky squad that delivered Great Britain’s second Tour de France winner in Chris Froome and he hopes to repeat that success in 2015.
Luke Rowe will make his Tour de France debut this summer with Team Sky, which begins this weekend with an opening time trial stage in the Netherlands with 21 stages culminating in the final sprint along the Champs-Elysees.
Luke Rowe relishes being given the chance to compete in the world’s biggest bike race, “This is such a special opportunity. Within Team Sky there is strength and depth in the squad, so just to get into the squad for the Tour is an achievement and I’m looking forward to giving it 100%.
When I got my first bike, I used to pretend I was in the Tour de France and sprint for the finish, like every other child does. So it has definitely been a lifelong dream, but just getting there isn’t enough I have a job to do for the team, and I hope to do it well.”
The Tour de France begins Saturday 4 July with a 13.8km time trial in Utrect, The Netherlands and cover 3,360km including 13.3km of cobbles and 24 mountains before finishing on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday 26 July.
“I’m looking at it in two halves. The first half will be a big fight having to tackle cobbles and a lot of cross wind and it will be quite stressful. But then it will ramp up again and it’ll be our job to look after Froome and getting through the last 9 days successfully. In the mountains, I’ll be doing as much as I can to support Froome and the Team.”
Luke is one of five British riders to make the Team Sky Tour de France squad, joined by Ian Stannard, Peter Kennaugh, Chris Froome and Wales’ Geraint Thomas. Both Rowe and Thomas started cycling at Maindy Flyers Youth Cycling Club in Cardiff, and together they progressed through the Welsh Cycling and British Cycling pathway and now ride alongside each other in Team Sky. In 2014, Luke was part of the Welsh road team that supported Geraint Thomas to become Commonwealth Road Champion in Glasgow.
“It’s pretty cool to be riding the Tour with G. We’ve grown up together since Maindy and are pretty good mates. Lining up for the world’s biggest sporting event together is just incredible.
There are a lot of good Welsh riders out there at the moment, with Owain Doull, Scott Davies and Stephen Williams who all have potential to be in the Tour one day too. Cycling is on the up from clubs to sportives to racing, it’s good to see lots of people in the sport.
I’ve never stopped enjoying cycling, I’ve always loved being on my bike and it’s important that young riders enjoy cycling.”
You can watch Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe in the Tour de France with daily coverage from ITV4 and S4C. If you are inspired to take up cycling you can find your local club here or take part in Welsh Cycling’s Go Ride Holiday Programme this summer.