Following his abandon at the Giro d’Italia, Mikel Landa has said that he would be willing to head to the Tour de France where he would ride in support of teammate Chris Froome. Speaking to the press at Team Sky's hotel ahead of stage 11, Landa said that he would need some time to recover but he is not against the team adding the Tour to his racing schedule.
“It is possible but I have to recuperate for a while and then we can think about it,” Landa told assembled media before heading home. “It would be a small change to go to the Tour so it is possible to put it in the plan. If they took me to the Tour to help Chris, it would be a pleasure.”
If he is selected for the Tour de France team it would be Landa’s debut. Team Sky already boasts a strong Tour de France squad to back Froome, with riders such as Wout Poels and Geraint Thomas.
The chance to send Landa to the Tour de France is only as a result of his early departure from the Giro d’Italia. There was a palpable sense of disappointment in the atmosphere as a group of journalists gathered in Team Sky’s Fiorano hotel, particularly among the Spanish media. The Basque rider spent 10 minutes with the press before thanking his teammates and heading to the airport. He said that he was already on the mend but that it was too soon to make any decisions on his return.
“I slept a bit better. I still had a fever quite late but I am a little better,” said Landa. “[I have] just finished and now I need to recuperate. What is possible, we won’t be sure for a few more days. After that, we will be able to make a plan.”
Landa had gone into the first rest day full of confidence after a strong time trial that kept him in contention for the maglia rosa. However, he fell ill over the rest day and was quickly dropped from the peloton on the opening climb of stage 10.
“On the night of Monday and Tuesday, I was feeling bad and cold. I couldn’t sleep very well and in the race couldn’t give my maximum. I had a fever, and stomach pains and I couldn’t stay with the group,” he said. “It was really hard. After the time trial, I had a lot of hope and I wanted to fight for the Giro.”
Asked who he thought would go on to win the Giro d’Italia, Landa picked his compatriot Alejandro Valverde, saying that Nibali had not been performing in the mountains. Without Landa, Sky must now rethink their approach to the Giro d’Italia. Nicolas Roche is their best-placed rider in the overall classification but is now nine minutes down after losing time on Tuesday’s stage.
Team Sky DS said on Wednesday morning that the team would now target the breakaways for stage wins and try to secure the white jersey classification with Sebastian Henao.