Mikel Landa

This is the page about Mikel Landa, a Basque cyclist who has been riding for Bahrain Victorious since 2020. Landa finished third in the Giro d’Italia in both 2015 and 2022. Additionally, he has won three mountain stages in the Giro and one stage in the Vuelta a España. IDLProCycling.com keeps a close eye on all news related to Landa, along with maintaining a biography of his career.

Mikel Landa
Mikel Landa

Mikel Landa was born on December 13, 1989, in the Basque town of Murgia. As a junior, he was known as a talented climber and finished fifth in the Tour de l'Avenir in 2010. The following year, Landa turned professional with the Basque team Euskaltel-Euskadi. In his first year as a professional, Landa showed flashes of his considerable talent by winning the traditional mountain stage to Lagunas de Neila in the Tour of Burgos, defeating renowned climbers like Joaquim Rodríguez and the later doping-convicted Juan José Cobo. However, Landa had limited success in the next two years, and his team dissolved due to the inability to find a necessary second sponsor. He then moved to Astana.

Landa flourishes at Astana

In his first year (2014) with Astana, Landa mainly worked as a domestique and did not achieve notable results. However, 2015 marked his breakthrough as a top climber. Leading up to his main goal, the Giro d’Italia, he won a stage in his home race, the Tour of the Basque Country. Weeks later, he secured second place in the general classification of the Giro del Trentino-Melinda, behind Richie Porte.

Then came the Giro d’Italia. At Astana, Fabio Aru was of course the leader, with Landa as the main domestique. However, in the mountain stages, Landa proved to be at least as strong as his leader and clinched two stage victories. The first was an uphill finish to Madonna di Campiglio. The day after that stage, Landa triumphed again in an epic stage to Aprica, which included the steep Mortirolo climb. He broke away with Steven Kruijswijk and Alberto Contador, then outpaced his fellow escapees in the final stage. This earned him third place in the overall classification, behind winner Contador and team leader Aru.

After his successful performance, expectations for Landa naturally increased, and he aspired to be a team leader himself. Consequently, at the end of 2015, he moved to Team Sky. However, his first year with the British team was not successful. It began promisingly with a win in the Giro del Trentino, but he fell ill during his main goal, the Giro d'Italia, and had to withdraw. The rest of the year primarily involved working as a domestique for Chris Froome in the Tour de France.

Landa restricted in the Tour de France as Froome's lieutenant

The following year, Landa had big plans for the general classification in the Giro again, but once more, things went awry. During the approach to the final climb in the Blockhaus stage, he was involved in a major crash caused when a large part of the peloton went down after Wilco Kelderman collided with a motorcycle. Landa was able to continue and later won a mountain stage and the mountains classification in the race.

Coming out of the Giro in strong form, Landa was also selected for the Tour de France team. As in the previous year, his main role was to support Froome in the mountains. However, he was in such good form that he found himself in fifth place in the general classification after the first mountain stages. Team Sky, however, prioritized Froome's bid for the Tour victory over a potential podium finish for Landa. As a result, Landa couldn't attack his key rival for the podium, Romain Bardet, and ended up just one second shy of a podium finish.

Mikel Landa

Landa makes another misguided choice with Movistar

Landa's failure to secure a podium finish in the Tour led him once again to switch teams. His decision to join the Spanish team Movistar seemed sensible at first, especially considering the presence of top riders like Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana, and Richard Carapaz, all aspiring to lead in grand tours. However, his choice proved detrimental. In 2018 and 2019, Movistar embarked on the Tour de France with high ambitions. Valverde, Quintana, and Landa, known as 'El Tridente' (The Trident), failed to make the desired impact. The trio struggled to work together, with nobody willing to sacrifice their chances for the others.

In the 2019 Giro d'Italia, Landa was initially the designated leader. Yet again, a teammate, Carapaz this time, emerged in a stronger position. After taking the pink jersey in the fourteenth stage, Carapaz's ascent relegated Landa to a secondary role, effectively caging him. Just like in the 2017 Tour, Landa narrowly missed the final podium. Frustrated with the same situation he faced at Sky and Astana, he decided to leave Movistar. He then joined Bahrain McLaren, assuming the role of the sole leader for the 2020 Tour de France. There, he finished fourth but was set back by injuries. In 2021, Landa aimed for both the Giro and Tour but failed to complete either. ​​

Landa flourishes again in 2022

The year 2022 proved much more successful for Landa. Leading up to his main objective, the Giro d'Italia, he secured a third-place finish in the overall classification of Tirreno-Adriatico. In the Giro, Landa demonstrated that, barring misfortune, he remains one of the top climbers in the peloton. Although Jai Hindley and Richard Carapaz were a step ahead, Landa achieved his second Giro podium finish. He concluded the season with his first podium finish in a Monument, placing third in the Tour of Lombardy behind Tadej Pogacar and Enric Mas.

Second behind Pogacar and Vingegaard, top five in the Vuelta

In 2023, Landa aimed for the Tour-Vuelta combination. Leading up to these races, the then 33-year-old was already in good form, finishing seventh in both the Tour of Valencia and Tirreno-Adriatico, fifth in the Tour of Catalonia, and securing second in the Ruta del Sol (behind Tadej Pogacar) and in the Tour of the Basque Country (behind Jonas Vingegaard). Despite a cold, he managed a third place in the Walloon Arrow behind Mattias Skjelmose and Pogacar, followed by a withdrawal from Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Both the Dauphiné and the Tour did not go as planned, leading Landa to the Vuelta. There, he finished fifth in his home race, slotting in behind the Jumbo-Visma triumvirate and between his compatriots Juan Ayuso and Enric Mas. After three seasons with Bahrain-Victorious, Landa decided to join Soudal Quick-Step, where he signed for two seasons to support team leader Remco Evenepoel.

Mikel Landa News

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