Rowe admits to piling on the kilos during his winter break

Team Sky rider back in training for Tour Down Under debut

Team Sky's Luke Rowe began training for the 2017 season last Friday but has revealed he can put on as much as 10 kilograms during his time off the bike.

The 26-year-old Classics rider got married in mid-November and was back in training after a short honeymoon. Speaking to the Lifestyle page of the Telegraph newspaper, Rowe revealed that he does not ride his bike during his time off, preferring to fully switch off and enjoy the fattening foods he has to avoid during the racing season.

"I can put on 10 kilos in the off-season. I can put it on in a month and it takes six months to get rid of it," Rowe revealed.

"You wonder why you do it to yourself. You think: I won't put on that much next year. But you still do. I think it's mental as much as anything. You are training full gas for 10-11 months of the year so you need to switch off mentally and physically and eat, drink and be merry. Pastries are my weakness. I resist those things for 11 months then cram it in. It's been pretty epic so far."

Rowe finished fourth in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and fifth at the Tour of Flanders, proving his talent in the toughest spring Classics. He then secured a place in Team Sky's Tour de France squad helping to protect Chris Froome all the way to Paris. After a break in the summer he raced until the world championships on October 16, almost 10 months after his season debut at the Tour Down Under.

"Last year I took six weeks off but this year it is only four weeks because the Worlds in Doha were two weeks later than normal. The month I have off is literally a month off. I don't even look at a bike or an exercise mat. I completely switch off."

He attended several weddings during his time off, including is own on November 13.

"More and more cyclists are getting married so I was cramming in as many weddings as I can. It is the only time we are all free so pretty much every weekend has been a wedding, including my own. We planned four days in Rome after the wedding then we will go somewhere more exotic on a bigger honeymoon next year," he explained.

"When we get riding again it is very relaxed and any cycling we do is stress-free. My coach, Rod Ellingworth, is big into his social riding. We have a lot of stress all year so at this time he likes us to remember the simpler things: just being a group of lads out on their bikes enjoying themselves. I will sometimes ride with my dad and my brother and chill out a little bit. From mid-November we are just riding base miles in a group and then by mid-December we do big hours and good rides."

New kit, new season

Rowe joined his Team Sky teammates for an off-season get together near Manchester late in October. He also attended the presentation of the new Team Sky kit designed by Castelli.

"On our last team camp we did lots of medicals for the UCI. They want to check your heart so they know you are fit and healthy enough to be allowed to race next year. Any issue and you're not allowed to race. I passed them so I'm a pro again next year. That's good," he joked.

"It's nice when you get your fresh batch of kit in mid-December. When you pull it on and it is all brand new it feels like: okay, yeah, we're ready to go. That's when the new season hits home," he said.

"We have a new supplier this year (Castelli) and the kit design is quite cool as each Team Sky win is marked on the jersey with a little line. It's a really cool touch so every win is remembered. I have a little line on there from my Tour of Britain stage win (in 2012). I'd like a few more significant lines on there soon but hopefully they are not far away."

Rowe will gradually increase the quantity and quality of his training through December and then enjoy the Christmas holidays before heading to Australia for a block of final training and his debut at the Tour Down Under.

"For the week of Christmas I always take a back step. I still ride my bike but I do indulge too," he admitted.

"I am a big family man and I have always said that cycling is a massive part of my life, but it is not my whole life and I wouldn't want to look back in 10 years' time and think I hadn't spent Christmas at home. I enjoy myself but my flights are already booked for me to fly to Australia on December 28 ready to train and race over there. Then it starts all over again."

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