Mikel Landa has reiterated his desire to ride both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2019, though the Basque rider acknowledged that his preferred race schedule for next season will require the assent of Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue. Landa had already expressed his wish even before the route of the 2019 Giro was presented, and the parcours has not dissuaded him.
World champion Alejandro Valverde has already signalled his intention to ride the Giro, while Nairo Quintana has stated that he will again target the Tour in 2019. In 2018, Landa skipped the Giro in order to focus exclusively on the Tour, where he reached Paris in 7th place overall.
“I want to do the Giro and the Tour. I'll talk with Eusebio and then we'll see what happens,” Landa said, according to AS.
No rider has managed to win the Giro and Tour in the same year since Marco Pantani in 1998. This season, Tom Dumoulin placed second overall at both the Giro and Tour, while Chris Froome won the Giro and took third overall on the Tour.
In 2017, however, Quintana placed a subdued 12th at the Tour after taking second on the Giro, which prompted Movistar to save its three leading Grand Tour riders – Landa, Quintana and Valverde – for the Tour this season. In their absence, Richard Carapaz finished a fine fourth at the Giro. Despite the difficulty of the 2019 Giro route, Landa rejects the idea that riding the corsa rosa would leave him with nothing in reserve for July.
“I don’t think so,” said Landa, who finished third overall at the 2015 Giro. “In recent years, there have often been many mountains in the last week in Italy and there have still been people who have then gone well on the Tour.”
Landa last rode the Giro and Tour in the same year as a Team Sky rider in 2017. A crash at the base of the Blockhaus ruined his GC challenge on that year’s Giro, but he rode strongly in the final week, winning a stage and the mountains classification, as well as placing 17th overall in Milan. He proceeded to enjoy his best Tour de France, where he performed impressively in support of Chris Froome and narrowly missed out on the podium, finishing fourth overall.
2019 is the final year of Landa’s existing contract at Movistar, and he is aware of the importance of the season to his professional future. “What I get in races will mark my future,” he said. “I hope to give headaches to those want to renew me or sign me.”
Landa was speaking at a function at the Hotel Meliá in Bilbao to mark the 25th anniversary of Fundaciòn Euskadi. The Basque began his professional career on the now defunct Euskaltel-Euskadi WorldTour team that grew out of the project, and he took over as president of the foundation last year.
The famous orange jerseys returned to the peloton in 2018, with Fundaciòn Euskadi competing at Continental level this season. Landa, who turns 29 next month, said that he hoped to finish his career in their colours at some point in the future.
“I hope to be able to make it in time to ride my final years as a professional with them, but I think things will have to go more slowly than we thought at the beginning,” he said.