Mikel Landa to make season debut at Ruta del Sol ahead of Giro d'Italia attempt

Team Sky's Mikel Landa will begin his 2017 season at the Ruta del Sol in preparation for the Giro d'Italia

Mikel Landa on stage nine of the 2016 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Watson)

Team Sky's Giro d'Italia co-leader Mikel Landa will begin his racing season at the Ruta del Sol in Spain next week (February 15-19).

In what is set to be the season's first big battle on European soil between the best general classification riders, Landa will lead a Sky team that also includes Wout Poels and debutant Diego Rosa.

After abandoning the Giro d'Italia with illness on stage 10 last year, Landa will share leadership responsibilities with Geraint Thomas in this year's race.

The Ruta del Sol is seen as Landa's first test against other GC riders, including Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) who is also targeting the Giro.

>>> ‘Mikel Landa paid the price at Team Sky. Astana are interested in men, not robots’

Alberto Contador is making his debut for Trek-Segafredo in the Spanish race, while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) will also be aiming for the overall win.

The race, that takes place in the Andalusia region of Spain, has a summit finish on stage two and an 11.9-kilometre time trial the day after.

After the Ruta del Sol, Landa will then race Tirreno-Adriatico in early- to mid-March before racing the Tour of Catalonia alongside Chris Froome later in the month.

Landa, who joined Sky from Astana in 2015 when he finished third at the Giro, will then defend his title at the Giro del Trentino, which finishes just over two weeks before the Tour of Italy begins on May 5.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.