Skip to main content

In the final part of this series, Luke covers topics such as using platforms like Zwift and providing advice on those looking to follow his footsteps in becoming a professional cyclist.

What advice could you give to young riders who are aiming for a career in cycling?

Luke Rowe: “A young rider shouldn’t aim for a career in cycling.  You should aim to ride your bike and enjoy riding your bike.  If you are young, 6, 8 10-year-old, and you are thinking of turning pro and dedicating the next 20 years of your life to, it’s a tough ask.  To make it to Conti, Pro-Conti and then World Tour, there’s a slim chance.  It’s a low percentage that actually make it.  It’s nice to have dreams but you have to be realistic and not think too far ahead, just ride your bike and enjoy it. It’s such a stereotypical answer, just ride your bike, but it’s the truth.  Enjoyment factor is key.”

What do professionals think about indoor training and applications like Zwift?

Luke Rowe: “I don’t think it will ever replace road cycling, but it’s a great tool to have alongside.  It is an amazing tool that coincides with road cycling but it never can replace road cycling.  You need to be out there, in the elements, in a group, in that real slipstream, going round corners, climbing, going through the gears, so it’s a great asset but can never replace it.”

How can these platforms be best utilised?

Luke Rowe: “It can be utilised if the weather is poor, which is the key one, or if you have some key work perhaps the roads around don’t suffice for example if you have a sustained effort for 20 or 30 minutes it is hard to find roads so for that type of thing it has value.”

Editor’s analysis:  I think the development of smart trainers and apps like Zwift have been transformative and have enabled amateur cyclists to maintain and even improve their fitness and engage in the sport in a way not ever done before.  It has helped truly globalise the sport.  Furthermore, the technology has enabled people to connect and entire global communities have developed in ways that were previously not possible.  Indoor cycling, can be and is seen as its own discipline and requires a different set of skills to riding and racing outdoors, however, these skills are transferrable.  The fitness from one, transfers to the other and vice versa and when used in collaboration, ultimately makes you fitter and healthier.  Personally speaking, that is my ultimate goal.  I don’t view indoor cycling as ever replacing traditional road cycling, I simply view them two as different disciplines and enjoy them both equally. 

The platform can be utilised in any way that enable you to meet your goals.  The key is defining what those are.  


After engaging with Luke, what I found most insightful and reassuring was that off 10 hours of training a week, it is possible to reach a good level of fitness. The one differentiating factor between what professional cyclists do is simply the hours spent training and they were actually a lot more comprehensible than I envisioned.  As Luke noted, he trains between 23-25 hours a week, which is double to what amateurs are doing, which on the face of it appears a lot but not when you consider amateurs, who as well as training, are working a 40-hour week (or more if you factor in commuting time) and in my opinion makes the everyday achievements of amateur cyclists, that much more impressive.

Another underlying message was the important of doing the right training, as Luke noted, having some intensity in your training which comes back to the importance of having a structured training plan that is tailored to the time that you have available to train.  Furthermore, it’s important to utilise the tools available, like Zwift, to help achieve your training goals. 

In terms of young people, Luke notes that it’s important for them to enjoy cycling, I think that can be extrapolated to all ages.  It’s good to have a focussed approach to training but underpinning it all must be a sense of enjoyment that comes with riding your bike.