Luke Rowe (Team Sky) rolled into Paris on Sunday to complete his debut Tour de France as part of a race winning team. After rain caused several big crashes during La Course earlier in the day, the race organisers ASO decided to neutralise the circuits in the centre of Paris, allowing Rowe and his teammates to lap up the atmosphere.
“It’s just incredible. The last few laps I had goosebumps the whole time and in the last week we knew that we could do it. We knew that it was there or thereabouts but just finally getting it and getting here is just absolutely incredible,” Rowe told Cyclingnews as his soigneur offered him a cold beer, instead of the usual can of coke.
“We’re over the moon, it’s what we dream of as little kids and to pull it off is pretty incredible.”
Rowe was brought into the race primarily for his classics skills, to help guide Chris Froome through a tricky first week. He was also used on the descents during the big mountain stages, picking his way down the twisting roads and the Pyrenees and Alps.
“For me it’s been brutal, it’s been really tough but you speak to the guys that have done numerous Tours de France and even they say it’s been the hardest by far and I certainly need a well-deserved rest after this,” said Rowe.
Team Sky have had to work hard defending the yellow jersey after Froome resumed the lead following Tony Martin’s abandon ahead of stage seven. Unlike previous seasons, the team took a less aggressive approach to their defence of the jersey and allowed the breakaways much more leeway to ensure they reserved their energy for when it was most needed.
“As soon as he took the yellow jersey so early on, it was a bit of a concern. We had such a long way to go, you use so much energy but we dealt with it every day, we weren’t greedy, we didn’t go for all the stages. We accepted that the breakaway was going to stay away and we were happy with that,” explained Rowe.