Sky duo set for Worlds
Ben Swift and Luke Rowe are expecting a hotly-contested World Road Race Championships on Sunday.
Last Updated: 29/01/13 11:00am
Ben Swift and Luke Rowe are gearing up for the World Road Race Championships on Sunday and are expecting a hotly-contested event in Limburg.
Both riders have been named in Great Britain's nine-man squad - which also includes Team Sky team-mates Alex Dowsett, Ian Stannard, Bradley Wiggins and defending champion Mark Cavendish - and they will be among 15 Team Sky riders expected to take part in the 267km trek from Maastricht.
Rowe joins up with his national team on the back of a fine Tour of Britain display which saw him take his first professional victory, wear the IG Markets gold jersey, and lead Cavendish out to three further triumphs.
Looking back on that race, the 22-year-old Welshman has many happy memories and believes it will stand him in good stead for when he takes to the start line again on Sunday.
He said: "The Tour of Britain was a special race, both for me and the team. Originally I'd been down to race in Canada, but got the call up at the last minute and managed to hit the ground running.
"Winning the opening stage was a massive achievement and the crowds which cheered us on throughout the week were absolutely incredible. I've raced all over the world in the last 10 years and I've never experienced anything like that.
"The racing itself was brutal. The six-man teams were smaller than what we're used to, so that made things a lot harder to control, and all the teams rode an aggressive race which meant it was full gas the whole week.
"The roads were so tough as well, and it's not until you actually ride around Britain on a bike that you realise there's hardly any flat. That said, I enjoyed every minute of it."
Rowe is expecting to play a supporting role for Great Britain this weekend and is delighted to have been named in the squad during his very first season as a professional.
"I really want to do a good ride there, and do my bit for the team," he added. "I think we've got some guys who can get a good result. Steve Cummings and Chris Froome will be our strongest men, but there's talent right through the squad."
Swift agrees, and is looking forward to getting back on the road after completing the Vuelta a Espana earlier this month.
He said: "The team we have got there is a good one, and the fact we don't have a clear favourite like we did last year opens up opportunities for a lot of people. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke showed he was in great form at the Tour of Britain, so he could be an option, but we'll talk through the race plan nearer the time.
"I'll be looking to have a good ride myself and get stuck in, even though the course is really hard.
"People have said there's less pressure on us as a team, but Great Britain is a very strong cycling nation at the moment so we'll definitely try and get into the mix.
"Belgium will be the out-and-out favourites though. Philippe Gilbert is absolutely flying at the moment and Tom Boonen is always immense, so if you're going to watch it on the TV you'll definitely be in for a good race."