Mikel Landa: ‘I want to return to a grand tour podium’
After a rough and tumble 2021, Mikel Landa debuts his season with the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in his roadmap for 2022.
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LUCENA, Spain (VN) — Mikel Landa is three days into his 2022 season debut at Ruta del Sol, and so far, so good. Knock wood.
The Bahrain Victorious star firmly believes if luck stays on his side this season and he keeps rubber-side down, he’ll be banging on the door once again at the grand tours.
“I hope to stay healthy and give the maximum this year,” Landa told VeloNews. “I’ve been up there in the grand tours before, so why not again?
“If the condition is there and the luck as well, I’d like to stand on another grand tour podium again.”
Also read: Landa crashes out of the Giro d’Italia
Landa, who turned 32 in December, is using this five-day stage race across the hills and mountains of southern Spain to ease into an important campaign.
The Basque rider is putting the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France at the center of his 2022 calendar.
It’s a big challenge for any rider, but Landa wants to prove he’s still a factor in the grand tours. With a deep Bahrain Victorious bench, Landa will go as one of the leaders at the Giro, and then reload for the Tour.
“At first, we’ll really focus on the Giro and start well,” Landa said. “There’s no problem combining the both of them. So once the Giro is over, there’s time to recover, and then we’ll take on the Tour.”
Also read: Landa looks to convert consistency into podiums
A strong ride at either one of them will help him keep his place among the elite of the GC pecking order.
After a rough and tumble 2021, which saw him crash out of the Giro and abandon the Vuelta a España, Landa isn’t considering anything else.
“It’s costing me a bit to get things going here at this race,” Landa said at sign-in on Friday. “I wanted to come into the season a little bit easier than most seasons, but we are little by little regaining the rhythm of racing.”
Since his breakout Giro podium with third in 2015, Landa emerged as one of the most consistent — and some say most hyped — grand tour riders over the past half-decade or so.
He missed the podium in the 2017 Tour by one second, and late reeled off four more top-1os across the Giro and Tour, but did not reach the podium heights again.
“We start the season with the objectives of the Giro and Tour, so we’ll build slowly toward those goals, and then we’ll see how it goes,” Landa said.
With a contract through 2023 in his pocket, there’s no reason to panic yet.
Following a heavy crash in the 2021 Giro, Landa just hopes to have a safe and traditional buildup to the season’s grand tours.
“I don’t see myself here to try to win, but if I am feeling good, maybe try to go for a stage win,” he said of the Ruta. “The goals come later in the season.”