Several reports published today in the Spanish media assert that, as reported by Cyclingnews at the start of the Tour de France, Mikel Landa will join Team Sky in 2016 on a two-year deal. Sources also place Movistar riders Beñat Intxausti, Gorka Izagirre and Ion Izagirre in Team Sky’s roster for the upcoming season.
Landa’s future has been a talking point since his outstanding performance in the last Giro d’Italia, where he won two stages and finished third overall, only behind Alberto Contador and Fabio Aru. The Basque rider’s contract with Astana is expiring at the end of this season and he has publicly stated his will to leave the Kazakh squad, where he hasn’t felt supported neither during his period of severe illness last winter nor during his breakout at the Giro.
According to the report, Landa had offers from Movistar in the amount of €1.5 million per year and from Katusha, where it was suggested he put forward his own asking price. However, Landa seems to have picked the two-year, €1.2 million deal proposed by Team Sky.
Two of the Spanish newspapers reporting Landa’s signing with Sky, El País and AS, said that Intxausti will join the British team next season too. Intxausti, who currently races for Movistar, is a strong climber who has won two stages of the Giro d’Italia and finished fourth in the last edition of Critérium du Dauphiné.
According to several sources contacted by Cyclingnews, another two Movistar riders, Gorka and Ion Izagirre, are set to ride for Team Sky in 2016 as well. The brothers from Ormaiztegi, a little village of the Goierri region, are key domestiques in Eusebio Unzué’s schemes and would have the same role at Brailsford’s.
The four riders, who come from the Basque country, were raised in the ranks of the bygone Euskaltel team and are managed by Giuseppe Acquadro. Koldo Fernández de Larrea, delegate in Spain of the Italian agent, declined to confirm or deny these transfers when asked by Cyclingnews.