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Mikel Landa, one of the major breakout riders of 2015, confirmed his move to Team Sky for next season. In an interview with the Basque daily Deia, the Spanish rider said he is leaving Astana after two seasons to join Sky because the British outfit will be offering him a leadership role for the grand tours.
“[At Astana] there wasn’t room for another leader, so that’s why I took the decision. [Sky] offered me something that Astana didn’t,” Landa said. “I demonstrated this season that I can win a grand tour, and to do that, I need a team built around me, and Sky offers me that.”
Landa, 25, emerged this season as a legitimate GC threat in such races as the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España. He won stages in both grand tours, and rode to third in the Giro behind Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), and Astana teammate Fabio Aru. Astana, however, is backing Vuelta winner Aru and 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali, and Landa decided to take the chances with Sky. He said he told Astana brass after the Giro that he would be leaving at the end of his two-year contract.
“Astana never considered me a leader,” Landa continued. “I would have liked to had the responsibility once in a while. I am not saying all the time, because they already had people for that, but I would have liked a little bit of responsibility.”
Landa also said it was a “blow” during the Giro, when the team ordered him to work for Aru, rather than attack Contador.
“That was a bittersweet moment,” Landa said. “I was able to jump Contador and put him in trouble. Even though he had four minutes, I believe I had him on the ropes. They ordered me to stop. … I prefer to put all that behind me, but at the time, it really hurt.”
With his move to Sky, Landa will help fill the void left by Richie Porte’s move to BMC Racing.