“It was a TV attack!” jokes Rowe. “I was hoping the race would slow up a bit and there would be a lull but Wout van Aert was just drilling it for the last four kilometres, so it made it hard to attack. I thought I would try once but it didn’t come to much!
“I wouldn’t say I’m flying, far from it, but the form is slowly coming and building race-by-race. That was only my second race back and there’s still a long way to go, but to be there with some good guys in the end, towards the front - not necessarily doing anything special, but being there - was good for morale.
“Part of the reason I did it was to see how the leg would be on the cobbles, because obviously there is quite a big difference to normal racing, and it held up pretty well. I wouldn’t say I had no pain, I could feel it a little bit, but it was minimal, so a pretty positive outcome to the whole day. I can take quite a lot from Nokere moving forward.”
Rowe is happy to admit that he is heading into the unknown on Saturday due to La Primavera’s famous length - at 291 kilometres it’s comfortably the longest race of the year - yet he is ‘fairly confident’ that he will be able to perform well.
“A lot of questions have been answered through Abu Dhabi and Nokere, but I am heading into the unknown a little bit here, having not raced over five hours really. This race will probably be seven-plus, looking at the weather. We’ll see how we go. In those last few hours it will be another indicator of how it’s all going, but I’m fairly confident.”
Luke and the team decided he would race San Remo last week, as he looks to get back to normal: “I spoke to the team and said I want to go into it all now, all guns blazing. Not really hold back and pick the easy route; just get stuck into it and race the races that I always have. Try and jump straight back into the thick of it. The team have supported that and backed me. I’ve done a pretty good job here [at Milan-San Remo] in previous years so I think that played in my favour.”