Landa sticking with Movistar despite Astana interest

Basque rider recovering from fractured vertebra

Basque rider Mikel Landa confirmed to the Basque television station ETB that he will honour the remaining time on his contract with the Movistar team, despite interest from Alexandre Vinokourov to bring him back to Astana.

Landa raced with Vinokourov's squad from 2014 to 2015, but left for Team Sky after being forced to play second Grand Tour leader to Fabio Aru. However, at Sky he found himself again as a back-up for Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome and left after two seasons for Movistar.

This season, Landa was once more sharing the Grand Tour team leadership, this time with both Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde - a strategy that failed to bear fruit in the Tour de France, with Landa the team's best-placed rider in seventh overall.

Landa admitted that there had been discussions with Astana, but told ETB he would remain with Movistar in 2019 to finish out his contract.

"I was there two years, I have a good relationship with everyone and yes, he [Vinokourov] was interested, but my future is with Movistar.

"I am comfortable and I will respect my contract."

Although Landa is recovering well from injuries from a crash in the Clasica San Sebastian, where he fractured his L1 vertebra and some ribs, his participation in the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck later this month is still in question.

"I'm fine, almost recovered. I still have some small discomfort, but I am training almost normally," Landa said, adding that racing Worlds "is complicated".

"I do not want to discount it because I want to be there, but it is a very long, hard race and right now my condition is not the same as a month ago."

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