Rowe: Another serious crash and I might never walk again

Team Sky rider targets Commonwealth Games and Vuelta in 2018

Luke Rowe is eyeing a return to racing at next April's Commonwealth Games in Australia and intends to ride the 2018 Vuelta a España as he continues to recover from a career-threatening leg break

Rowe suffered 20 fractures in his lower right leg and foot when he jumped straight-legged into low water while white water rafting on his brother's stag-do in August. Surgeons fitted an 800-gramme metal rod in his shin and warned him he may never race again.

However, the 27-year-old Welshman considers his full recovery as a personal challenge and chance to even improve as a rider. He recently rode on the track for the first time and hopes to train on the road in early December.

"I think the Commies [Commonwealth Games] would be a lovely way to come back into the sport," Rowe told the Telegraph in an interview at home in Cardiff.

"I mean, representing Wales. I love representing GB, I love representing Sky, but representing Wales is potentially just that little bit more special, being a patriotic guy."

Rowe is cautious about fixing any comeback date in stone "because then if you don't make it you can get quite down", he explained. However, just 12 weeks after surgery, he is ahead of schedule and already riding on the track and home trainer.

"The opportunity is there to work on your weaknesses. I'm fully optimistic I'll be back stronger than before," he said of his gym and rehabilitation work that keeps him busy every day.

"I will definitely ride the Vuelta next year I think. The Tour could be a bit ambitious but I'm not ruling myself out of that. But until I get back on the bike – which should be early December – it's hard to know."

The risks of never riding again

Rowe revealed that doctors told him he may never ride again. He has since proven them wrong. However, the metal rod in his tibia means that another serious crash could leave him unable to ride again.

"I knew straight away it was bad. I lay on the riverbank and tried to lift my leg and my foot and half my leg stayed where it was and the other half came up," Rowe said of the accident.

"The surgeon was sitting at the end of the bed and he asked 'do you want me to be straight with you?' And I said, 'Yes, please'. And he said, 'There's a good chance you will never ride a bike again'. That was probably the worst moment of my life. I just sat on my bed and broke down and cried, you know? It was stand out the worst moment of my life.

"We've had a few discussions about whether to leave it [the metal rod] in or take it out. And we've decided that we're going to leave it in; to strengthen the tibia. But if I was to crash and if it was a big one, well, you can imagine… the rod bends, the bone doesn't. So it would shatter and I would never ride a bike again. Potentially never walk again. I would never have full use of my leg."

Rowe's attitude to life has helped him succeed in cycling. He is now ready to face the consequences of the accident as he strives to make a comeback and race once again.

"I've just got to crack on and if I crash, you know, it would be a horror story and I'd go and stack some shelves," he said.

"No regrets. At the end of the day I jumped into a river. I will do that 100 times again in my life probably. You can't wrap yourself up in cotton wool. It was just super unlucky."

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