Landa to kick off new chapter with Bahrain-McLaren at Vuelta a Andalucia

Landa leads a strong Bahrain-McLaren team at the mountainous race.

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Mikel Landa starts his season Wednesday, leading his new Bahrain-McLaren team at Vuelta a Andalucia.

The Basque rider will be racing for the first time since his move from Movistar over winter.

“I am very happy to start this new experience with the new team,” said Landa in a team release. “I want to kick off the season well and to work with my new teammates.”

Landa has finished in the top-six in his last two starts at the Vuelta a Andalucia (also known as Ruta del Sol), riding in support of Sky teammate Wout Poels in 2017, and Movistar teammate Marc Soler in 2018.

This year, Landa will be leading his team. He will be at the head of a powerful Bahrain-McLaren unit that provides support in the GC fight with riders such as Pello Bilbao and Dylan Teuns. With Sonny Colbrelli in the team, they also have an option for the fast finishes. The race will be Landa’s first opportunity to test the support cast he hopes will help propel him to grand tour success in summer.

The Spanish race contends with Volta ao Algarve, which runs over the same dates. Other riders opting to start at Andalucia are defending champion Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Enric Mas, racing with his new Movistar team.

“I have already participated at Ruta del Sol several times and, as usual, it’s a complete and tough race with good teams and excellent riders who have already shown that they are in good condition,” said Landa. “It’s my first race, so one of the objectives is to check my preparation, and if I have the opportunity to win, I will certainly not back down.”

The five-stage race packs a lot of early-season climbing to test GC riders coming out of their off-seasons, with three stages heading into the mountains. The remaining stages are made up of an individual time trial and sprint stage. Racing starts Wednesday 19th in Alhaurin de la Torre.