Luke Rowe insists there is more to come at the Classics as the Welshman takes aim at a fresh cobbles campaign in 2019.
The Cardiff-born rider has top-10 finishes at both Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders to his name as well as a podium appearance at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
But Rowe insists there is more to come as he enters the peak years of his career hoping the bad luck from his previous two spring campaigns will not hit his hopes this year.
The Team Sky ace, who launches his campaign in Australia this month, said: “I definitely want to get more out of the Classics.
“I don’t feel like I’ve reached my full potential and fully shown myself there. The years are ticking by. It’s not like I’m a new kid on the block anymore. I’m entering my eighth year as a pro.
“Last year I finished Roubaix in an ambulance and Flanders with 50km to go, disqualified. It just didn’t really go to plan at all.
“The year before I crashed heavily in Flanders while in the front group. That’s the Classics for you. You’re getting in crashes, wrong place wrong time, while in previous years I was always right place, right time.
“Hopefully I can have a year when it all comes together. The form falls right on the day and we can go out there and do something special, either me or as a team.
“I’ve still got a massive focus on the Classics and I’ve got a lot more to give there. Hopefully I can get a result somewhere along the line – but that’s easier said than done, right?”
Rowe battled back from a freak, career-threatening accident suffered in 2017 to help countryman Geraint Thomas to Tour de France glory last year before signing a new deal with Sky.
But he admits the injury – he shattered his leg after jumping onto a rock while white-water rafting on brother Matt’s stag-do in the Czech Republic – is something that will have to be managed for the rest of his career – and even longer.
“It’s an ongoing process and it could well be that way for the rest of my life,” he explained. “I had another operation this winter where I had a couple of screws taken out.
“The rod itself is still in and probably will be for the rest of my life. That’s the way it is.
“It’s not necessarily ever gonna get 100 per cent better but we’re pretty much 90 per cent of the way and I think that’s where it’s gonna stay. I’m back riding my bike and that’s all that kind of matters to me – that I could get back to where I was and I’ve achieved that.”
Rowe’s future plans were then thrown into the air when Sky announced it was withdrawing sponsorship at the end of this year, but his main focus is on being back in Australia for the Tour Down Under.
He added: “I think it will be my sixth Tour Down Under and it’s a race that I really enjoyed right from the first time I went.
“I just want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible – get on the front foot, get fit, get racing, get in the peloton, get amongst it.
“Essentially I’m a racer. I enjoy racing. Obviously I do the training but what I enjoy is racing. Training is your 9-5, Monday-Friday, but racing is your weekend where you let loose. That’s what I enjoy, so why wait? Just get stuck straight into it.
“This year will be no different. If you go right through with the Cadel Evans Road Race and Sun Tour you can be there for around six weeks.
“It’s a good chance to train day in, day out under the sun. Wherever you are in Europe the weather can influence your training but over there you know what you’re going to get, day in, day out. I think it puts you in pretty good nick going into the Classics.”
Rowe picked up an impressive solo win on stage two of the Herald Sun Tour in 2017 and has his eyes on more success Down Under this time around.
With a fourth and fifth place to his name at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, he’s excited about getting back in the thick of it.
“I’ve been knocking on the door,” added Rowe, joined in Australia by fellow Welshman Owain Doull.
“It’s a great race actually – it’s quite open and you can’t really predict the winner. One year Pete Kennaugh won it solo from an attack with 15km to go, an epic ride; another year a sprinter won, or someone has gone solo at the end.
“It’s a race we can go into quite relaxed and not have a fully structured plan. It’s quite open and a lot of guys get their opportunity to fire off up the road and get amongst it. It’s a race I’d like to try and get a result in if possible.
“I think one-day racing is great. Turn up, put your balls on the line, one day, get it all out, and go home. Whoever wins on the day is champion and that’s it. It’s a style of racing I enjoy and hopefully, I can have a good one this year.”
After the Classics, Rowe is hopeful or returning to the Tour when Thomas and four-time winner Chris Froome battle it out for the Yellow Jersey and then building towards a World Championships on home soil.
Rowe added: “At the moment the plan is post-Classics to look towards the Tour. I’ll try and go there and support our leaders. I think it’s a great position to be in to have cards to play and I think that’s how we’ll go into the Tour again this year.
“Every Tour is different and this year will be different again. It would be great to be a part of that whole puzzle this year and try and bring the yellow jersey to Paris. It’s such a massive achievement. To go there and support those boys again would be a massive goal for me.”
And he is relishing the chance to compete in a home worlds in the roads around Yorkshire.
“They don’t come round very often, a World Champs on home soil.,” added Rowe. “In the last few years I don’t think we’ve lived up to our expectations and as a nation we really want to put on a performance on home soil and get a result out of the team on the day.
“It’s a big focus for a lot of us and it’s the first year in a lot of years when, every GB rider you speak to, it is on their radar and they’re already thinking about it. Whether the course necessarily suits them or not, they all want to be there which is great. Every rider is fully committed to it already.”