Road

Mikel Landa aiming for Giro d’Italia podium and Tour de France challenge in 2021

Bahrain-Victorious sketch out goals and schedules for the year ahead of training camp in Altea, Spain.

Mikel Landa is setting his scopes on an ambitious grand tour double this year.

Speaking at an online team presentation Friday, the Bahrain-Victorious climber said that his season will focus on the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. The 31-year-old will start his season at the Vuelta a Andalucia next month.

“My main goal is the grand tours,” Landa said. “Certainly in the Giro I’d like to be competitive, fighting for the podium and perhaps the victory.”

Landa attempted the notoriously tough Giro-Tour double in 2017 and 2019, landing fourth in Italy and sixth in France during the latter, his final season with Movistar. Last summer, the Basque piled on the pressure in the final block of Alpine stages to claw his way up the GC to match his career-best fourth place in Paris.

While Landa’s Tour tilt in 2020 was given a boost by the absence of flat time trials, this summer’s race is an altogether different beast, with a total of nearly 60 kilometers against the clock across two stages.

Landa recognized he’ll be playing for time in the mountains as he looks to build a buffer against big-motored GC rivals such as Tom Dumoulin, Primož Roglič and Geraint Thomas at the 2021 Tour de France.

“I’ll look at the route to decide my strategy, more so than other favorites,” Landa said. “Obviously the more mountains and the less time trialing the better. I will try to make the most of the mountain stages.”

Landa will be supported by fellow Basque rider Pello Bilbao at both the Giro and Tour.

Landa will be captaining a newly reformulated Bahraini squad this year. Out go former title sponsor McLaren, team boss Rod Ellingworth and aging sprinter Mark Cavendish. In come sport director Rolf Aldag, promising stage racer Jack Haig, what the team has described as a “change of strategic direction,” and the optimistic renaming to Bahrain-Victorious.

Meanwhile, the team outlined Friday that Sonny Colbrelli, Matej Mohoric and Dylan Teuns will head up the team in the cobbled and Ardennes classics.