News – Luke Rowe 5th in DePanne


Luke Rowe suffered a rear wheel puncture at a crucial moment on the first stage of Three Days of De Panne, but still recovered to finish fifth

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News – Luke Rowe 5th in DePanne

The Welshman had attacked out of a small lead group with 30 kilometres to go and been joined by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), Lieuwe Westra and Alexey Lutsenko (both Astana) before he was cruelly hit by a puncture climbing the Muur which ruled him out of stage-winning contention with 18km left.

Rowe battled valiantly to make it back to the lead group but faced a struggle to catch the powerful trio, with Kristoff eventually sprinting to the win. Having been joined by Mads Pedersen (Stolting Service Group) he came home fifth, 29 seconds back, although still seven seconds ahead of the reduced peloton.

Speaking to he said: “Gutted, yeah, that hits the nail on the head. From the get go we rode well today. We always had guys on the front – the race was split right from kilometre zero and we had pretty much the whole team on the front. Everything went perfectly, we always had numbers, right up until that puncture.”

“I felt pretty strong,” he added. “I think Westra was the strongest in the break, he was pulling some really strong turns, but I felt pretty comfortable – well, as comfortable as you can expect! Once again, I’m just gutted to puncture at what was probably the worst moment in the entire race. It was right at the bottom of the Muur, so as soon as I got the fresh wheel I went absolutely flat out up there because I figured if I hadn’t closed the gap by the top I’d probably never close it. I sprinted up that in a do or die effort.”

“It’s part of the sport. There’s no one to blame, no one behind it, it could happen to any rider, in any race, at any moment. Unfortunately it was me today, but that’s life. I’ll crack on and hope for better luck in the future.”






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