Luke Rowe happy to finish last after Sky team-mate Chris Froome's Tour de France win
Luke Rowe can finally enjoy his status as the Tour de France's lanterne rouge after watching Chris Froome win his fourth Tour crown in Paris.
Froome's Welsh road captain finished the Tour as the last man in the general classification, giving Team Sky the unusual honour of being both first and last.
The lanterne rouge lands Rowe a place in the quirky footnotes of Tour history, but it was not something he was keen to indulge until he had successfully guided Froome through the final stages of what Rowe called his hardest grand tour yet.
"It's not what you come to the Tour de France and dream of winning," Rowe said after he was presented with a red lantern by a Belgian journalist.
"But what you do come to the Tour de France for is the yellow jersey and we've got that."
Rowe's final time for the full 3,540 kilometres of this year's Tour was 90 hours, 56 minutes and 47 seconds, putting him four hours, 35 minutes and 52 seconds behind Froome's winning time.
The 27-year-old performed a vital role for Sky as road captain, making key decisions during the stage on which rivals' moves to respond to and which to let go.
"As soon as my job is done for the day I'll sit up, chill out and lose as much time as possible so I'm fresh to do my job the next day. If that results in me being bottom of the pile, that's fine so long as Froomey is the top of the pile."
Froome's final margin of victory was just 54 seconds over Rigoberto Uran, while the top three in the race spent much of the last two weeks separated by less than 30 seconds.
That made it a much more difficult race for Sky - and Rowe as captain - to control.
"It's been more of a tactical race," he said. "If you have massive climbs back to back and bigger margins it's more straightforward to deal with than the small margins.
"We've had to be on our toes the whole day. It's been stressful. It was my hardest grand tour yet."