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Mikel Landa (Euskaltel-Euskadi) cracked the top-10 on the Vuelta's first stage in the Pyrenees
Euskaltel climber set to support Nibali’s 2014 Tour de France bid
Mikel Landa has confirmed that he will be joining Astana on a two-year deal when the Euskaltel-Euskadi team folds at the end of this season. Speaking to Spanish website El Pedal de Frodo, Landa acknowledged that an agreement had been reached and said he is relishing the prospect of his new challenge.
The 23-year-old Basque climber had been linked with the Kazakh team in August, when Astana DS Giuseppe Martinelli admitted they were close to agreeing a deal. Negotiations were subsequently held up by F1 driver Fernando Alonso’s interest in taking over the Euskaltel set-up, but have been now been concluded after Alonso pulled back from that deal.
“We’re especially pleased to be heading into the future with Mikel, as with him on board next year we will have a very talented and young addition to our group of stage race riders, which will boost our ambitions,” said Astana team manager Alexandre Vinokourov.
“Astana Pro Team is putting together its programme for 2014 with very specific objectives, including the Tour de France with our team captain, Vincenzo Nibali,” Vinokourov continued. “With Landa on board, we are taking a big step not only towards July next year, but also towards the years to come. If Landa develops along with our other talented and young cyclists we will see the next generation of grand tour riders and champions taking shape right before our eyes.”
Landa joined Euskaltel from their feeder Orbea team in 2011. He took a very impressive summit victory at Lagunas de Neila in the Tour of Burgos that season and has continued to progress. Runner-up in the Tour of Madrid and Tour of Asturias this year, he has ridden and completed the Vuelta on two occasions, finishing 39th in the latest edition last month.