Rowe: Backing up Froome at the Tour de France and the Classics are my 2017 ambitions

Team Sky rider unsure of race schedule post-July

Luke Rowe (Team Sky) will once again look to balance his ambitions in the Classics with the demands of supporting Chris Froome at the Tour de France in 2017.

The 26-year-old is currently competing at the Tour Down Under, where he is supporting Sergio Henao's podium ambitions and building his own form ahead of the spring classics where he will be hunting his own chance to lead Team Sky.

"I pretty much know my whole race program for the year, we've split it into two big goals. First and foremost it's the cobbled classics, that's where my passion is and the races I love to go and perform in. Flanders and Roubaix are obviously the big ones for me, but there are five or six big races I'll be aiming for leading up to them," Rowe told the press at the Tour Down Under.

Rowe will spend roughly a month in Australia, and will cap the trip by linking up with Froome at the Herald Sun Tour. Froome won the race in 2016 and will make his 2017 competitive debut there for the second year running.

"After the last race in Australia, Sun Tour, I'll be looking to Nieuwsblad and Kuurne full gas and hit the ground running. So from now, I'm just building to that first block of the cobbled classics and then after that it'll be a complete role reversal turning into a domestique for Froome at the Tour."

Rowe has been a vital cog on Froome's Tour de France squad for the last two years and he will once again suit up as Froome looks to win his fourth title in five years.

"Have all guns blazing for him. I've been there the last two years and been fortunate enough to be part of that team that has won the Tour de France, so I hope I can go back and do that again."

While his teammate and fellow domestique, Ian Stannard, will race the Vuelta a Espana later in the year, Rowe will skip the Spanish Grand Tour.

"For me personally coming out to Australia, then the Classics and the Tour, there's not much left in the tank after the Tour. It's more a psychological challenge of completing the Tour and having enough energy to get motivated for another Grand Tour especially in a team like Sky where you can't just go to a tour and pick the days you want to race in and hold back on other days. It's 21 days of full gas you have to be at your optimum level every day to support the big guys who are trying to win the bloody thing. But we have spoken about it, it is a possibility. We'll have to see how I come out of the Tour, but as it stands at the moment it's a no from me."

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