Giro d'Italia: Landa disappointed with another close loss

Team Sky rider focused on keeping KOM jersey all the way to Milan

Treating the finale of the Giro d'Italia as a series of 'three one-day races' to salvage his race, Mikel Landa came agonisingly close to his first Grand Tour stage win since the 2015 Vuelta a Espana.

The Team Sky rider lost the queen stage to Vincenzo Nibali in the final corner and again led into the final 150 metres of stage 18 only for Tejay van Garderen to swoop by and take the win. A scant consolation for Landa was his adventure in the breakaway to all but secure the king of the mountains classification.

Involved in the 'moto' accident en route to the Blockhaus climb on stage 9 of the race, Landa turned his attention to stage hunting with his GC ambitions thrown out the window. While Landa has now seen two opportunities for stage wins slip from his grasp, he explained he will continue trying to add to his back-to-back stage wins from 2015.

"I'm very disappointed again – I wanted to win for the team. I'm really proud of them – they did a really nice job again. We have two more days and we will keep trying," Landa said. "The Maglia Azzurra has been a new motivation for me and today we did good work to help keep it until Milan."

In the battle for the blue KOM jersey, Landa leads Luis Leon Sanchez 189 points to 108 with Omar Fraile still in contention on 104 points. Should Landa keep the jersey all the way to Milan, it would mark consecutive wins in the classification for Team Sky after Mikel Nieve's victory last year.

With Landa taking back time via his breakaway exploits, the Spaniard has risen up to 22nd on the general classification and is on track for his GC result at a Grand Tour since his third place at the 2015 Giro. Stage 19 of the Giro is another stage suited to Landa's capabilities although a breakaway appears unlikely to be given the opportunity to fight for the win as the GC battle intensifies between Tom Dumoulin, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali.

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