Landa sets sights on Giro d'Italia for 2017

Mikel Landa has named the Giro d'Italia as his main objective for the 2017 season as he looks to put the demons of his first year with Team Sky behind him.

Landa led Team Sky at this year's race. He had been one of the big favourites after a strong performance while supporting Fabio Aru at the 2015 race but fell sick and abandoned after the first rest day. He went on to support Chris Froome at the Tour de France but endured a disappointing debut season for Team Sky. He finished his season at Il Lombardia at the beginning of October but only raced for a total of 59 days.

The off-season is now over the Spaniard and Landa has already begun his preparations for next May, training in the mountains near his native Murgia in the north of Spain. According to Marca, he has been dovetailing his work on the bike with some sessions in the swimming pool and the gym. December will mark the beginning of the longer riders out on the road, in order to build up his base fitness.

Landa had a delayed start to this season, first due to a desire to do more time trial training followed by a bout of illness. his first race was the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in late March.

Should all things go to plan, his 2017 programme will begin much earlier, at either at the Vuelta a Andalucia or the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Tirreno-Adriatico, the Volta a Catalunya and the Giro del Trentino are also likely to form the build-up to the Giro d'Italia. All this means that he will probably miss his home race the Vuelta al País Vasco.

Earlier this year, Wout Poels had indicated his intention to lead Team Sky at a Grand Tour and the Giro d'Italia was touted as a possibility for the Dutchman. However, that looks unlikely if Landa rides the Italian race. Froome had also hinted at a possible ride but has since said that he will once again focus on the Tour de France.

Nairo Quintana has already put his hand in the ring for the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia and Landa's former leader Aru looks likely to ride. Defending champion Vincenzo Nibali is also expected to lead his new Bahrain-Merida team there, although he hasn't confirmed it.

The route of the 2017 Giro d'Italia was announced last month and will set off from Sardinia on May 5 and takes in six summit finishes and two time trials, the second of which will take place in Milan on the final day of racing.

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