Rowe stars with Kuurne podium

26 Feb 2017

Rowe stars with Kuurne podium

Luke Rowe continued his Classics momentum with a superb third place at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

The Welshman showed impressive strength on the second day of racing in Belgium's opening weekend, battling it out in an elite five-man group to ensure a podium. World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) rebounded from a runner-up finish on Saturday to claim victory.
 
Rowe buried himself to bridge across to his counterparts as the race hit the finishing circuit in Kuurne, before holding his nerve in the final two kilometres. Despite starting his sprint from the back, he was able to secure his best ever result in the race.
 
Team Sky had enlivened the race and Rowe and Ian Stannard found themselves right in the mix as the day's key selection was made with 85km to go. Stannard hit the front on the famed Oude Kwaremont cobbled sector, stringing out the bunch and creating a group of 19 riders, including his team-mate.
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Rowe was a happy man on his first Classics podium (Photo: TDWSport)

Rowe was a happy man on his first Classics podium (Photo: TDWSport)

The gap spun out to over a minute but gradually the peloton regrouped, and with all the day's climbs complete the bunch set about hauling back the leaders.
 
A cohesive chase effort saw the gap slashed to under 30 seconds, but as the race arrived for the first of two finishing circuits a dig from defending champion Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) sparked the beginning of the end.
 
With Stannard initially chasing, Rowe then put in a superb effort to bridge across, joining Sagan, Stuyven, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) and Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) in what proved to be the winning move.

Stannard crossed the line 14th, just six seconds back in a second group of chasers. The peloton, containing Michal Golas, Christian Knees and Gianni Moscon, arrived moments later.
Luke Rowe

Luke Rowe

I've had a fourth, a fifth, a sixth... an eighth, a ninth. 11th. So now to get a third and podium is that next level up!
After stepping off his first Classics podium, a buzzing Rowe told TeamSky.com: "I'm definitely happy with the opening weekend. You can say it's nice to be able to get those results and take some confidence from it - but it's two nice results in itself. These are two really hard one-day races. Everyone who is going to be at the thick end of the rest of the Classics is here. 
 
"I've had a fourth, a fifth, a sixth... an eighth, a ninth. 11th. So now to get a third and podium is that next level up. I'm knocking on the door and not far away. It's by no means a win which is what we are aiming for - but it's nice to be on the podium and experience that. Onwards and upwards.
 
"I'm at the stage now where I'm fairly confident of making those front groups. If it splits and there are 20-30 guys I'd be disappointed if I wasn't there. But at the same time in these Classics you've got to be so clinical, and it's so easy to make a mistake and not be there. So it's great to be on the front and full-on racing again."
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Race results:
1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:37:49
2. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) s.t.
3. Luke Rowe (Team Sky)
4. Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)
5. Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors)