Landa: It all points to riding the Tour de France

Spaniard expecting to support Froome in July and so miss the Vuelta a Espana

Mikel Landa has said that he’s more than likely heading to France this July as part of Team Sky's squad for the Tour de France.

During the Giro d’Italia last month, Landa said that he would prefer to rest up and then head to his home Grand Tour - the Vuelta a Espana. However Team Sky' desire for an extra climber during the Tour de France means that he will have to make changes to his plans.

“Well, surely the Tour. There hasn’t been an official confirmation but it all points towards there,” he told Radio Marca when asked what his plans were for July. “During the Giro d’Italia, the team said that they would need another climber.”

Landa rode the Giro d’Italia as joint leader with Geraint Thomas. However, both of their general classification plans went off the rails when they were caught up in a crash on stage 9, which was caused by a police motorbike.

While Thomas eventually quit the race due to his injuries, Landa continued and salvaged something for the team with a stage win and victory in the mountains classification. He has not raced since the Giro d'Italia and is not expected to race ahead of the Tour de France which starts in Dusseldorf, Germany on Saturday July 1.

Radio Marca asked Landa if he would retain the Vuelta in his schedule and attempt to ride all three Grand Tours, which Alejandro Valverde did last season. The answer was a resounding no from the Basque rider.

“If I go to the Tour then I won’t be in the Vuelta a Espana,” he said.

Porte is the threat to Froome's fourth victory

Like many have already, Landa picked out former Team Sky rider Richie Porte as the biggest challenger for the team’s near iron-clad grip on the yellow jersey and a fourth victroy for Chris Froome. 

Porte has already won the Tour Down Under and the Tour de Romandie. He recently put a down payment on the Criterium du Dauphine general classification with victory in the stage 4 time trial. The Spaniard also picked out his compatriot Valverde as someone who might also cause a few problems.

“Richie Porte will be a tough rival and, I don’t know, but I like Valverde, he is someone [to watch]. I was surprised at Volta a Catalunya, he was going so well,” said Landa.

On Porte, he added: “Here at Sky they know him really well. Last year he had a really good Tour aside from one day. I think that he will be the biggest rival for Froome.”

Landa's future at Team Sky

Talk also turned to Landa’s future during his chat to Radio Marca. Landa has a new agent, who is new to professional cycling. He was present at the Giro d'Italia.

With his contract due up at the end of the season, the Spanish press has been working overtime with reports and rumours that Landa may leave Team Sky.

Thus far there has been speculation about a return to Astana or a switch to Bahrain-Merida. Movistar has also been put forward as a potential destination.

Landa would not be drawn on contract talks, however, saying that he had enjoyed his two seasons at Team Sky and that he was discussing a new contract.

Landa joined the team from Astana for last season after winning two stages and finishing third overall at the 2015 Giro d’Italia.

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