Welshman Luke Rowe makes Team Sky switch

By Gareth Rhys OwenBBC Sport Wales
Luke Rowe
Rowe represented Wales at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi

Luke Rowe will join fellow Welshman Geraint Thomas at Team Sky from the 2012 season, it has been confirmed.

The double European junior champion had been with Rapha Condor since 2008 and was a member of British Cycling's Olympic development programme.

Rowe, 21, was ninth in the Road Race at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

"Luke Rowe is one of this country's outstanding prospects for the future," said Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford.

Rowe finished second in the 2008 European junior Road Race Championships and he has won three senior British madison titles.

And the Cardiff rider said: "As a British rider, signing for Team Sky is a dream come true and I am very excited about what the next two seasons hold.

"I already know a lot of the guys in the team so I shouldn't have any problems settling in.

"I've spoken to Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift, and they only have good things to say about how the team is run and the way they treat their riders.

"The step up in standard is obviously going to be huge so during my first few months I will just have to try and learn as much as possible whilst obviously contributing as much as I can to the team."

Rowe claimed his first road win in 2009 at the ZLM Tour and has enjoyed top 10 finishes at the Tour de l'Avenir.

He also won the 2010 GP Sportivi di Poggiana and claimed his second ZLM Tour title in 2011, as well as a stage of the Thuringen Rundfahrt and three Kermesses in Belgium.

"At Team Sky we are determined to ensure that the best British talent have the opportunity to compete at the highest level of our sport," added Brailsford.

"We have watched him grow from a promising teenager into a well-rounded and gifted rider and are delighted to be able offer him his first professional contract.

"He has worked hard to get himself to where he is today and deserves his chance to work with and compete against the very best cyclists in the world.

"The next two years will be a huge learning experience for him but we believe he is in the very best place to do that and are looking forward to having him on board."

Rowe's brother Matt is also a professional cyclist while father Courtney is the coach of Paralympic gold medallist Simon Richardson, who was recently seriously hurt in an alleged hit and run incident while training.

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