Team Sky has confirmed that Spain’s Mikel Landa will ride for the British team in 2016 as it continues to reveal its seven new riders for next season. Team Sky is widely expected to announce Michal Kwiatkowski as its seventh and final new signing on Sunday as the Polish rider tries to defend his world champion’s rainbow jersey in Richmond.
In the last few days Team Sky has announced the signing of neo-pros Alex Peters and Gianni Moscon, Michal Golas, Danny van Poppel and Benat Intxausti.
Landa hinted he would move to Team Sky at the Vuelta a Espana and the deal was apparently struck soon after his breakthrough performance at the Giro d’Italia, when he appeared to be the best climber in the race, won two stages and finished third overall despite becoming entangled in the Astana teams tactics to support Fabio Aru as team leader.
Landa went on to win the terrible Andorra mountain stage at the Vuelta a Espana, defying team orders to wait for Aru. The 25 year-old from the Basque Country in northern Spain has ridden six Grand Tours in his five seasons as a professional. With Richie Porte moving to BMC, Landa is expected to lead Team Sky at the 2016 Giro d’Italia and perhaps play a key role in supporting team leader Chris Froome at the Tour de France.
“Team Sky is one of the best teams in the world and this is a great opportunity for me,” Landa said in the announcement from Team Sky.
"The team has an excellent reputation for being professional and methodical, and I know I can continue to develop and improve with their guidance. Team Sky has an excellent group of riders and I'm looking forward to joining up with them next year. I'll do everything I can to bring success to the team.”
Team manager Dave Brailsford was impressed with Landa at the Giro d’Italia and revealed to Cyclingnews that he has followed his career over the years after identifying his potential. Landa rode for Euskaltel between 2011 and 2013, joining Astana in 2014 after the Basque team folded. He was fifth in the 2010 Tour de l’Avenir.
“Mikel is a rider we have followed closely for the last four or five years. He has always demonstrated a big talent and we have always recognised that. He really stepped up at the Giro d'Italia this year, but we had already identified him as a target,” Brailsford said.
"He has shown he is one of the best climbers in the world, and he is only 25 years old. We are very excited at the opportunity of developing this young rider over the coming years."