Landa stepped up in the last two days to become an overall threat to Sky’s rivals as well as, possibly, Froome himself. In the overall, Fabio Aru (Astana) leads Froome by six seconds with an ever-improving Landa at 1-09.
“Who’s the Sky boss? Froome, no doubt. Chris has three Tours and the confidence of the squad,” the Spaniard said after finishing fourth on stage 13 into Foix.
“I have legs, but I don’t have such medals of honour. I want those, but I haven’t enjoyed such consistency in recent seasons to gain the necessary support. I hope I can get that from here on.”
According to some inside sources, Landa will transfer to Movistar this winter after two years with Team Sky.
Landa already placed third overall in the Giro d’Italia and won two summit finish stages with Astana in 2015. This year he led Sky’s Giro team with Geraint Thomas, but after a crash he refocused, winning the Piancavallo stage and taking home the blue mountains jersey.
Watch: Tour de France stage 13 highlights
Sky brought him to the Tour to help Froome to victory as he did in 2016. With Geraint Thomas at home after fracturing his collarbone on stage nine, Landa is expected to be Froome’s main domestique.
“Chris,” he said when asked who will win the Tour. “And if not, me. My only uncertainty is to understand how far I can go after racing the Giro.”
The team slackened the leash on stage 13. Froome had permission to follow a move by Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and help in the escape. The work, which at one point nearly had him taking the yellow jersey, moved him from seventh to fifth overall.
“We knew we were going to face a very heavy stage, tough from the start. I remained attentive, since in the team we spoke that I should charge ahead if the opportunity was given, which would force Astana and the rest of the rivals to respond,” Landa said.
“I found an ally in Contador. I hesitated a bit about whether to fight for the victory or to take the maximum possible time. Alberto encouraged me to go for the time. He said, ‘Let’s do something big, let’s kill it.’ And he helped me a lot, which I appreciate. It’s a pity that Barguil passed us, although he also deserved it.
“Of course, I thought about [the yellow jersey]. I would have loved to take the yellow jersey. However, I stayed there at one minute. But we will play two cards from now on. We have become the only ones with two options. Astana has shown weakness and we will try to take advantage of any cracks.”