WALES’ Commonwealth Games cycling team has been hailed as the best ever to represent the country, even with Gwent star Becky James missing out through injury.

Double world champion James, of Abergavenny, was forced to pull out after aggravating a knee injury last week.

But Luke Rowe, who finished fourth in Sunday's British Cycling National Championships road race in Abergavenny, is convinced Wales can shine in Glasgow later this month.

The 24-year-old from Cardiff said: “I think it's the strongest Welsh team in the history of the Commonwealth Games.

“Everyone is going on about the Aussies and the English and the Manx but we're as strong as any of them."

Wales have taken two cycling medals in each of the last three Commonwealth Games, yet only two cyclists have achieved gold ¬– Louise Jones in 1990 and Nicole Cook in 2002.

James won silver in the individual sprint and bronze in the 500m time trial at Delhi 2010.

Rowe is hoping that the likes of double Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas, who didn't compete in Delhi amid hygiene concerns, and world team pursuit champion Elinor Barker can lead Wales to their best cycling medal haul yet.

“We can go head-to-head with any of them,” he added. “We don't need to be afraid of anyone – we can take them all on.

“We've got to go in ambitious. You can sit here and say you've got a strong team, so with a strong team you want medals.

"We'll go there aiming to win the race, if not get a medal. But for sure we'll give 100% and see what we come out with.”

Thomas will compete as part of the men's road team along with Scott Davies, Owain Doull and Gwent pair Sam Harrison and Jon Mould.

Harrison of Risca and Newport’s Mould will also join Monmouth’s Lewis Oliva and Cardiff rider Doull in the men’s track team.

And Amy Hill and Ciara Horne, who are both based in Langstone, are part of the women’s team alongside Barker, Hayley Jones and Amy Roberts.

Becky James’ older sister Rachel will also be involved as she pilots Bridgend’s Rhiannon Henry in the women's para-cycling track competition.