Movistar leader Mikel Landa has apologised after lashing out verbally at Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) following a crash-ridden finale of stage 4 at the Giro d'Italia in which the Spaniard lost time.
Landa claimed that Yates had caused him to fall at a roundabout, with the Basque injured and losing 42 seconds on race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and 26 seconds on other top GC contenders, including Yates.
Asked by Spanish sports daily AS afterwards what had happened, Landa told the newspaper, "That fucking Yates. He’s mentally retarded. He rides like a madman and he made me fall."
Landa later apologised "in particular to Simon Yates" and fans on Twitter, saying his words had been "taken out of context." Yates later accepted the apology on Twitter, writing, "No worries, I understand what it’s like to say something in the heat of the moment."
The interview happened after the stage four finish, won by Landa’s team-mate Richard Carapaz, but in which Landa had cuts and bruises on his hip and left arm. His bike was also broken in the crash, and the Basque had to complete the stage using one lent him by teammate Lluis Mas
"I don’t think the fall is particularly serious, but the problem is I’ve lost more time. Now I’m nearly two minutes down on Roglic overall," Landa said.
"It’s shit when things happen that aren’t under your control. I was in difficulties in the time trial, but I hit the ground today because of another rider. This isn’t the way I wanted to start this race."