Landa aims for Giro-Tour double in 2019
The Spanish cyclist from the Basque Country last raced the Giro and Tour in 2017 when he was still a member of Team Sky. After a crash, he still managed to win a stage and the mountain jersey in the Italian tour and returned one month later to place fourth overall while helping Chris Froome win the Tour overall.
The 2019 Giro and Tour plan hinges on a team meeting next month with manager Eusebio Unzué.
“I want to do the Giro and the Tour,” Landa told Spanish daily AS. “I’ll talk to Eusebio and then we’ll see what happens.”
He signed for Movistar ahead of the 2018 season. He was one of three leaders the Spanish super team took to the Tour with Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana. The team, however, fell short of its goal. Quintana won a mountain stage and Landa led the team home in seventh overall.
Media has hyped Landa since his breakthrough Giro d’Italia ride in 2015. He won two summit finish stages and placed third overall while helping then-Astana team leader Fabio Aru. Aru placed second behind a dominant Alberto Contador.
Landa has yet to win a grand tour. Returning to the Giro as Movistar’s leader could offer him his chance.
The 2019 Giro route includes 58.5 kilometers of time trials, but also five high-mountain summit finishes. Landa would then need to back off in the five weeks between the Giro and the Tour. He is expected to join Quintana for the Tour.
“Will it affect me in the Tour? I do not think so,” he said. “There have been many mountains in the last week in Italy in recent years, and people go on to do well in the Tour.”
Top stars Froome and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) both raced the double in 2018. Froome won the Giro d’Italia and placed third in the Tour as he helped teammate Geraint Thomas win. Dutchman Dumoulin placed second in both grand tours.
Quintana tried the double in 2017 and regretted it later in the summer. He lost the pink jersey on the Giro’s final day to Tom Dumoulin and placed second overall. In the Tour, he could not reach his best that allowed him to place second overall in 2013 and 2015. He closed 12th overall.
Movistar should decide on its riders’ 2019 programs soon. The team’s riders and staff meet next month in Pamplona, Spain.
Landa could use a knockout performance in one of the grand tours to secure a top-dollar renewal with Team Movistar or a new contract for 2020. His current deal ends next year.
“What I achieve in the races will affect my future,” he said. “I hope to give headaches to those who have to renew me or those who want to sign me.”