Tour de France: Rowe 'deserves' Team Sky spot - Backstedt

Luke Rowe
Cardiff-born Luke Rowe joined Team Sky in 2012

Former Tour de France stage winner Magnus Backstedt believes Luke Rowe should be included in Team Sky's squad for this year's race.

Team Sky say the 11-man shortlist for Le Tour published on their website on Tuesday is not the final squad.

Backstedt, the first Swede to win a Tour stage, believes Rowe is worthy of inclusion in the nine-man team.

"I would like to see Luke get the selection. He deserves it," Backstedt said.

"They need a guy like him, who's not afraid of jumping on the front at any given point."

The opening stage of the Tour de France is on 4 July in Utrecht with the 21st and final stage on 26 July.

If Rowe and team-mate Geraint Thomas are selected in Team Sky's squad it would be the first time two Welshmen would compete on the Tour.

Thomas said his fellow Cardiff-born rider is finally fulfilling his potential, with Backstedt of the view that Rowe has improved over recent seasons.

"He's proven to be a very solid rider for the team, not only on the flatter roads but he's climbing very well," Backstedt told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"Luke should get the opportunity to ride a Tour and I think he would be able to do a very good job."

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