'Chris Froome's still the Team Sky boss': Mikel Landa to continue in domestique role at Tour de France

Spaniard says he doesn't yet have the experience to earn support of team

Mikel Landa leads Alberto Contador on stage 13 of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

After two tough days in the Pyrenees Chris Froome is the Team Sky "boss" according to Mikel Landa, who "has the legs, but not the medals of honour" at the Tour de France.

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.

>>> Fabio Aru fends off Chris Froome's attacks to retain Tour de France lead as Warren Barguil wins stage

"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."

>>> Five talking points from stage 13 of the Tour de France

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.

>>> Chris Froome: 'Mikel Landa 'a real threat for the overall' after stage 13 attack at Tour de France

"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."

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.