The Giro d’Italia‘s fourth stage ran under rain but the tempers were hot when it finished in Frascati, so much so that Mikel Landa’s flash comment on Simon Yates made headlines.
Spanish site AS reported that Movistar’s Basque captain cursed Yates and called him “an idiot” for “going crazy” into a roundabout and then crashing. Landa apologised hours later via his Twitter account.
Landa, speaking to Cycling Weekly, said he didn’t stand by what he’d said, saying: “I’m not happy to see that. I didn’t say it. I apologise.”
Landa followed Yates, who won the Vuelta a España and led the Giro d’Italia for 13 days last year, in the final 10 kilometres of the fourth and longest stage.
“Every crash happens for some reason, nobody is guilty, but I think we have to be very careful on the road [because] we can [suffer],” Landa continued
“Yates slid, I was right behind him and I crashed too, but it was nothing. It wasn’t his fault, not that he was going crazy [on the bike].”
Landa lost 42 seconds on the stage to race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), a manageable distance compared to Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) who lost 4-02 minutes before abandoning the following day. Yates lost 16 seconds.
Landa in 2017 won the mountains jersey and a stage in the Giro d’Italia and went to the Tour de France to place fourth while helping then Sky team-mate Chris Froome win. This year, Movistar gave him the leadership role in its Giro team.
Landa arrived at the bus upset with the day and began to complain about the day to a journalist.
“I didn’t say that [he was an idiot]. I got to there to the bus. He asked what happened, and I said, ‘Yates! He crashed on the ground.’ I said, ‘It was stupid.'”
Later, Landa saw the headlines and he responded in Twitter. He said, “I felt bad, and I wanted to get out that Tweet.”
Landa had a smile on his face despite the heavy rain in Frascati this Wednesday morning ahead of stage five to Terracina. Tom Dumoulin began the race too, despite bang his knees and suffering a cut from a chainring. The Dutchman climbed off just 1.5km into the stage.
“I’m OK, I have a little pain but it’s normal after a crash, but it’s nothing special,” he said.
“Why these crashes? I don’t know, we are a lot of leaders, everyone wants to be at the front. There’s not the space for everyone, also there are team-mates working. Too many people want to be in the front position.”