Spanish rider making the switch from Team Sky to Movistar in 2018

Mikel Landa is looking forward to facing Chris Froome, who he describes as “the best in the world”, in 2018 when they are no longer Team Sky team-mates.

The Basque rider is switching to Movistar this winter after two years with team Sky. In July, he supported Froome on his way to his fourth Tour de France title and placed fourth overall.

“The battle against Froome will be very hot, putting yourself up against the best of the world in those moments,” Landa told the Marca newspaper.

“I am excited for it, but now I want to finish off the season, rest, and start up the 2018 with the same motivation as always.”

>>> Mikel Landa ‘frustrated’ and ‘very angry’ after sacrificing his own chances at the Tour de France

Landa won a stage and the mountains jersey in the Giro d’Italia after a crash knocked both him and Geraint Thomas out of overall contention. At the Tour de France, he occasionally appeared stronger than Froome and could have led Sky for the win had Froome stumbled.

He returned to win the Vuelta a Buegos overall in August. Though not racing the Vuelta a España, he visited during the rest day Monday to see his friends and the race, which Froome leads by 1-01 over Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).


Watch: Vuelta a España essential guide


“It does not surprise me that Froome is doing well in both the Tour and Vuelta,” Landa said.

“Last year, he missed the Vuelta due to a bad day, but he was the strongest. This year he is on the same form and he is the favourite.

“[Sky] are very powerful, especially considering that the Vuelta is a race that is very difficult to control. They are capable of handling the situation.”

The 27-year-old’s time with Sky is almost over, just a few end of season races like Il Lombardia remain. He said at the Tour that he does not want to go into races in 2018 and be the second option as he has done at Team Sky and Astana beforehand, but to be the main leader.

At Movistar, he must split the 2018 race schedule with Colombian Nairo Quintana. Quintana has already twice finished as runner-up at the Tour de France and won both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

“Nairo is not going to ride all the races, he will divide the schedule. There will be no problem,” said Landa. “We haven’t spoken yet, but everything will be discussed. We will see the Giro and Tour routes and decide.

“The Giro is more suited to my characteristics, but the Tour is such an important race for a cyclist.”