Mikel Landa hoping for quick return after crash in first race of the season

The Grand Tour contender’s 2019 has opened with disappointment

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Movistar’s joint leader Mikel Landa is hoping for a quick return to racing after he crashed out of his first race of 2019.

Landa, who is set to target both the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia this season, was caught up in a crash in the closing kilometres of Challenge Mallorca.

The Basque came down with 15km to go in the first of four one-day races on the Spanish island, suffering a broken collarbone in the fall.

He is expected to undergo surgery within 48 hours of the crash, which happened on Thursday (January 31).

Landa has not finished a race since the final stage of the Tour de France last summer, failing to complete his last seven races due to crashes.

The 29-year-old told Ciclo21: “I’m f**ked up and sad, because I also ended last year on the ground, but you have to look forward.

“The year has just started and I will return. I don’t want to give it any more thought, it has already happened.”

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Landa formed part of Movistar’s ‘trident’ approach to the Tour de France, alongside compatriot Alejandro Valverde and Colombian Nairo Quintana.

He was the Spanish WorldTour team’s best finisher in 2018, rolling across the line in Paris seventh overall and almost eight minutes down on winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).

Movistar are abandoning the triple-threat approach this season, instead sending Landa to the Giro with Valverde and then the Tour with Quintana.

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The former Team Sky domestique added: “The main objectives of the year are not changed.

“Now we will have to work a little harder to recover and return sooner, but the Giro and the Tour are not in danger.”

Landa hopes to recover quickly from surgery and be back on his bike in around two weeks time.

The opening day of Challenge Majorca was won by Cofidis rider Jesús Herrada, followed by Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Group Gobert) and Trek-Segafredo’s Bauke Mollema.

Valverde came in fourth.