In August of last year, doctors told Luke Rowe he might never ride a bike again after they worked to repair his shattered lower right leg. Now, just seven months later, he has been selected to support Team Sky's defending champion in Milan-San Remo, Michal Kwiatkowski.
Rowe was on a rafting trip as part of his brother Matt's pre-wedding celebrations when he jumped into shallow water and suffered some 20 fractures to his right tibia and fibula. Doctors inserted a metal rod to stabilize the breaks, and after months of physical therapy, he rode a bike for the first time on the velodrome in Newport last November, but thought he would miss all of the 2018 Spring Classics.
Although he was warned that one more serious crash affecting that leg might end his career, Rowe has decided not to 'wrap himself in cotton wool.'
"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 said last November.
By December, he was back riding with his teammates at the Team Sky camp, still taking things day-by-day. But by February, he was racing in the Abu Dhabi Tour, and on Wednesday was in the thick of the action in the closing kilometres of Nokere Koerse.
Rowe will be joined by Gianni Moscon, Salvatore Puccio, Ian Stannard, Dylan van Baarle and Lukas Wisniowski in supporting Kwiatkowski at Milan-San Remo.
Kwiatkowski, who just won Tirreno-Adriatico, is among the top favourites to win Saturday's Monument.
"I am always motivated to ride well in Milan-San Remo, and I know how lucky you need to be in the end to be victorious," the former world champion said in the team's announcement.
"With a Milan-San Remo win under my belt, the pressure will be less as I don't have to prove anything. I just need to feel good, ride a good race and we know with San Remo that you also need to be lucky too.
"I have worked hard to be in good condition for Strade Bianche, Tirreno and let's hope at Milan-San Remo too."
Team Sky for Milan-San Remo: Michal Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon, Salvatore Puccio, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Dylan van Baarle and Lukas Wisniowski.
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