Sixth at the Tour de France this year after taking fourth at the Giro d'Italia, Movistar's Mikel Landa has promised he'll return to the Tour to fight again for a top result at cycling's biggest bike race.
"For one reason or another, I haven't been back on the podium of a Grand Tour since 2015," Landa told Spanish sports daily AS after stage 20 on Saturday. "I've learned a lot, and here I had to fight again against adverse circumstances and against time I lost for reasons beyond my control."
Landa's GC options went up in smoke when he crashed and lost time after Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) unintentionally side-swiped him on the echelon-hit stage 10 at the end of the first week.
"I wanted to get on the podium, but I'll be back again, and stronger, next year," Landa promised.
Landa made a late move to try to take the stage win at Val Thorens on Saturday, but, as he told other reporters, the pace laid down by Steven Kruijswijk's Jumbo-Visma on the final climb made it very hard to get away, and his attack fizzled out.
"Jumbo surprised me, because they were very brave going so hard, and they got what they wanted: Kruijswijk on the final podium, so my congratulations to him," Landa said.
As for Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), and how the Colombian has seemingly won the Tour at the age of just 22, Landa said: "He put on a real show of strength throughout, particularly on the climbs at over 2,000 metres above sea level. He crushed us. We've seen it coming, though, in the way he's been racing over the last few months, and now we'll have to see how he gets on in the years to come."
Ninth place at the Tour this year went to Landa's Movistar teammate, Alejandro Valverde, who has now equalled the record already held jointly by Pedro Delgado, Felice Gimondi and Gino Bartali for top-10 finishes at Grand Tours, AS reported.
"I'm very proud of that," road race world champion Valverde told the newspaper, after racking up his 18th GT finish. "I'm surprised I could be so close to the other contenders who were battling for the overall classification."
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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