Team Sky plot more surprise moves after Mikel Landa goes on the attack at the Giro d’Italia

Brailsford's praises the spontaneity of Landa's attack and calls for more of the same

Mikel Landa on stage six of the 2017 Giro d'Italia (Credit: Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford has said that he was pleased with spontaneity of Mikel Landa when the Spaniard launched an unexpected attack near the end of the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia.

The 27-year-old attacked with 8.5km to go on the 189km stage, and although he was caught a few kilometres later, Brailsford was pleased with the move.

"It's good, and if anything I'd encourage this spontaneity. It keeps the other team guessing," Brailsford said outside the Team Sky bus.

>>> Five talking points from stage eight of the Giro d'Italia

"You have to use everything you have in this race, especially with the level of the opponents with Nairo [Quintana], Vincenzo [Nibali] and the other guys. They are going to take some beating so you look at what you have in your team, the weapons you have, and how best to utilise them.

"Being predictable in our case is probably not wise. Unpredictably, and the element of surprise, could be to our advantage. However, you can't do that from a team car or from a TV on the bus. It's up to the guys to feel it, to communicate, and that's what they'll keep on doing."

Watch: Giro d'Italia stage eight highlights

Landa's move was short-lived. He went free with 8.5km remaining and FDJ pulled him back by 3.7km to go. However, it uncovers part of Sky's strategy behind their quest for their first Giro title.

"Planned? No," Landa said at the finish line. "I just saw that the teams were in difficulty, teams without many helpers. I tried to make a bit of trouble to see if someone wanted to come along with me.

"We've got two captains at Team Sky [with Geraint Thomas]. If not one of us, then the other one is going to attack."

The same unpredictable tactics Chris Froome employed in the 2016 Tour de France. He attacked on a descent and rode clear to the line and pushed away with Thomas and Peter Sagan on another day in the cross-winds.

That tactical plan could be followed in the coming two weeks, starting with tomorrow's summit finish to Blockhaus.

>>> 'We'll see the big fight that we didn't see on Etna': GC contenders prepare for Blockhaus battle

"It's paid dividends for us in the last couple of Grand Tours, being on the attack more and taking people by surprise a bit more. It's more fun by the end of the day and it feels a bit more like racing," added Brailsford.

"Taking the race to the opposition, and also being smart enough to know when to pace it and when to race it."

Landa and Thomas already used the dual-prong back-and-forth attack method in the Tour of the Alps in April. Landa's attacked paved the way for Thomas' overall win.

"They have complementary riding styles, if opportunities arrive, then we are going to use them. This just hopefully sets the scene for things to come," continued Brailsford.

"We've sat down and tried to think how best to utilise the riders and team we have against the opposition. You try to play to your strengths, and certainly that's one of our strengths. The element of surprise, a bit of unpredictability, it's something that we can spring on people."

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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.