‘We have to attack’: Expect aggressive riding from Mikel Landa at the Tour de France after stage six failed attempt

The Basque rider is also wary of Geraint Thomas after his strong climbing performance

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Mikel Landa will be looking for attacking opportunities to make up time in the 2019 Tour de France.

The joint Movistar leader launched a trademark move early on the final climb of stage six, La Planche des Belles Filles, but his effort was in vain as he was swept up without gaining time.

But the Basque rider is confident in his strength, despite having ridden to a top-five finish in the Giro d’Italia just weeks before the Tour.

>>> Was the Planche des Belles Filles gravel finish a success? Riders have their say

“It’s obvious that we have to attack to make up time,” the 29-year-old said.

“Right now we feel good and we can aspire to reach the podium and, who knows, maybe more.

“We’ll see how the Giro affects me. It doesn’t worry me right now because I finished the Giro well and I’m good coming into the Tour.”

La Planche des Belles Filles was the first general classification test of the Tour de France 2019 and it was a brutal one.

There were plenty of casualties in the newly added final gravel kilometre of the climb, Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) the biggest loser with Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) also losing time.

Movistar were the dominant team on the final climbing, setting world champion Alejandro Valverde to work at the front of the bunch to support Nairo Quintana and Landa to the top.

Landa took on the attacking roll, pulling out a 20 second advantage over the GC favourites but being caught before the top. He showed his form however by finishing within 10 seconds of the best overall contenders at the summit.

Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) was the standout GC rider on the climb, pulling away from rivals in the final 500 metres to take a handful of seconds and finish fourth on the stage.

But Thomas may have made himself a target with such a strong performance in the first week of the Tour.

>>> Watch: André Greipel celebrates surviving La Planche des Belles Filles with cyclocross celebration

Landa said: “The thing that stood out for me is that Thomas is very good. It’s been a while since we’ve seen him like this but he’s confirmed he’s the rider to beat.

“It was a strange climb and the GC contenders only moved in the last kilometre. It’s hard to make too many conclusions, but it’s clear that Thomas is strong.”

Landa now sits 17th overall at 1-43 down on race leader Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), with his co-leader Quintana two seconds better in 16th place after a lacklustre team time trial performance on stage two.

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