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Landa takes first victory in over a year with stage win at Coppi e Bartali

Movistar's Mikel Landa took his first victory since winning a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico last March when he won stage 2 of the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali in Italy on Thursday.

The Spanish rider has had a torrid time since last August when, having taken a very respectable seventh place overall at the Tour de France the month before, he crashed at the Clasica San Sebastian, fracturing a vertebra and a rib.

Although Landa was able to return to racing at the Giro della Toscana in mid-September, he wasn't able to finish the race, and didn't finish any of the further five races he rode in September and October, but then spent the winter trying to get back to his previous form.

However, a crash at his first race of the 2019 season in late January – the Trofeo Ses Salines-Campos-Porreres-Felanitx, part of the Challenge Mallorca – resulted in a broken collarbone, and Landa didn't race again until Milan-San Remo last weekend.

"I've got through so many difficult injuries, including January's Mallorca crash and collarbone fracture, and I know how long it takes, and that it requires so much effort, to make it back," Landa said on the team's website.

"This victory means that all those efforts have paid off, and gives me a lot of confidence. I know now I'm on the right path, and I can still do well at the Giro d'Italia," he said of his first major goal.

"Max [Sciandri] and the other sports directors trust me more than I even do myself. They see I train well, but riders always tends to feel worried about themselves because training and racing in a big peloton are two very different things when it comes to pace and also danger."

Landa grabbed the bull by the horns on stage 2 of Coppi e Bartali on Thursday, attacking on the final finishing circuit, with only Mitchelton-Scott's Lucas Hamilton able to match him.

"I was calm and confident because I had a strong team by my side," said Landa. "I knew I could make it, and I only wanted the race situation to allow me to give it a try."

The lead pair worked well together, and while Landa overpowered Hamilton to take the stage win, the Australian took the race lead overall, with Landa now in fourth place on the GC, 22 seconds behind Hamilton, but with three stages still to go.

"The team has supported me all the way since [the start of the race on] Wednesday morning," Landa said, "and have put a lot of faith in me, so now we can all enjoy this together."

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