Spanish Team Sky rider Mikel Landa dispels rumours that he considered offers from rival teams over the winter
Spaniard Mikel Landa likes it where he is in Team Sky despite reported offers from rival teams to sway him away from the British team this season.
“Yes,” Landa told Spanish paper AS when asked if it was clear that he would stay with Team Sky despite Bahrain-Merida reportedly approaching him this September.
“I signed [with Team Sky from team Astana] to make the most of everything they could give me and at no time did it cross my mind [to leave].”
The team did sign Ion Izaguirre, who had an existing contract with Movistar for 2017. His points helped Bahrain-Merida earn their licence in the UCI WorldTour.
Spain’s Movistar team also counts on Nairo Quintana, twice second and third last year in the Tour, who is racing both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2017.
Landa explained that Movistar and its general manager Eusebio Unzué “did not” contact him. He added, “Unzué is a manager who respects contracts”.
If Landa would negotiate then he would likely do so this summer after he leads Sky in the Giro. Traditionally, the market heats up with the temperature through June and July ahead of August 1, when teams can officially announce riders for the new season.
“Yes, but there’s still plenty left,” Landa said. “It’s going to be an important year. I’m maturing as a cyclist and I can give a lot.”
The Basque had a rocky run through the early spring in 2016. He won the Giro del Trentino, but stomach problems forced him to abandon mid-way through the Giro d’Italia.
He rebounded to help Chris Froome win his third Tour title in July.
His plan remains the same for 2017. After starting with the Volta a Valenciana, February 1 to 7, he will race Tirreno-Adriatico and Trentino, now called the Tour of the Alps.
“The Giro favours me, with more high-mountain finishes. I like the Stelvio stage. I have not even stopped to think about the Tour and Vuelta.”