Landa set to replace Nibali as Bahrain-Merida leader

Spanish rider leaving Movistar at the end of this season

Mikel Landa is set to replace Vincenzo Nibali as the Grand Tour leader at Bahrain-Merida as the WorldTour team undergoes a major shake-up for 2020.

Cyclingnews has been told that Landa – currently at Movistar – agreed a two-year deal several months ago, as Bahrain-Merida looked to secure a new team leader in case contract negotiations with Nibali failed. Nibali has grown more determined to leave Bahrain-Merida in recent months after receiving a serious proposal from Trek-Segafredo. Negotiations with Bahrain-Merida reached deadlock in March after the Italian demanded a two-year deal on roughly the same salary as his current contract.

Bahrain-Merida have been interested in Landa for some time, and although they don’t see him as a like-for-like replacement for Nibali, they hope that the Spaniard can rediscover his best form in three-week stage races.

As Cyclingnews reported last week, Rod Ellingworth will move from Team Sky to Bahrain-Merida and join the team as part of its senior management next season.

Nibali is expected to take his entourage with him to Trek-Segafredo, including his brother Antonio, coach Paolo Slongo and doctor Emilio Magni.

Landa's contract with Movistar ends this season, and he was being courted by Astana. However, his move to Bahrain-Merida will likely spark a merry-go-round of Grand-Tour-leader transfers.

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