Mikel Landa is preparing an ambitious double in the grand tour this year.
Speaking in an online team presentation on Friday, the victorious Bahrain climber said his season will focus on the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. The 31-year-old will start his season at Vuelta a Andalucia next month.
“My main focus is the big tours,” Landa said. “Certainly in the Giro I would like to be competitive, fight for the podium and maybe the victory.
Landa attempted the notoriously difficult Giro-Tour double in 2017 and 2019, finishing fourth in Italy and sixth in France in this final season, his final season with Movistar. Last summer, the Basque put the pressure on the last block of alpine stages to climb the general classification and equal his career best fourth place in Paris.
While the incline of the Tour de Landa in 2020 was boosted by the lack of a flat time trial, this summer’s race is an entirely different beast, with a total of almost 60 kilometers against the shows in two stages.
Landa acknowledged that he would be playing in the mountains for a while as he sought to build a buffer against big-engine GC rivals such as Tom Dumoulin, Primož Roglič and Geraint Thomas at the 2021 Tour de France.
“I’m going to watch the course to decide my strategy, more than the other favorites,” said Landa. “Obviously, the more mountains there are and the less time trials, the better. I will try to make the most of the mountain stages.
Landa will be supported by his Basque compatriot Pello Bilbao at the Giro and the Tour.
Landa will be captain of a newly reformulated Bahraini squad this year. Step out of former main sponsor McLaren, team boss Rod Ellingworth and aging sprinter Mark Cavendish. Next are sporting director Rold Aldag, up-and-coming stage runner Jack Haig, what the team described as a “strategic change of direction” and the upbeat name change to Bahrain-Victorious.
Meanwhile, the team announced on Friday that Sonny Colbrelli, Matej Mohoric and Dylan Teuns will lead the team in the cobblestone and Ardennes classics.