Movistar felt “shock” seeing one of their leaders Mikel Landa fall and lose time due to another rider in the Tour de France.
Landa had made the front group in the crosswinds to Albi with team-mates Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana, and rivals including Geraint Thomas (Ineos), but was knocked over by Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic).
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In the big crosswind day, which could have allowed him to jump up in the overall by 1-40 minutes with Thomas, Landa slid 2-09 minutes behind.
Landa arrived to the Spanish WorldTour team’s bus clearly upset and banged his handlebars before getting into the vehicle. He did not say a word.
“It was a shock,” said team-mate Imanol Erviti. “He had been there, riding in the group, and then on the ground.
“Luckily, he didn’t suffer physical consequences, but it’s bad news for him and pain, the pain and the rage for a loss of time caused by another, without looking for it.”
First, it was rumoured that Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) caused the incident. The Frenchman took to social media to explain, “Really sorry for what happened to @MikelLandaMeana, but please watch again I’M NOT the rider who push him in.”
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), who remains in the yellow jersey lead, explained that Barguil had hit him and then fell the other way and countered his weight off of Landa.
“I’m sad about Mikel Landa’s crash,” said Barguil in Twitter. “I lost balance when touching the wheel of Julian, I touched Mikel, who went back on the left.
“It went very fast, it was not voluntary. I avoided the fall miraculously, which was not the case for Mikel. I hope he’s fine.”
Landa, 29, may be fine, but without luck as he tries to win a Grand Tour. On his own, slipping behind, he lost 2-09 minutes to the Thomas group with Quintana and Valverde, and now sits 21st overall at 3-03 behind Thomas.
“What a pity,” Valverde said.
“I was scared when they said on the radio: ‘Fall of Mikel!’ He was on my wheel, very well positioned. I did not know anything about what happened.”
The fall adds to others for Landa, including in the 2017 Giro d’Italia when he and Thomas, then Sky team-mates, were taken down by a parked police motorbike.
Landa just came from helping team-mate Richard Carapaz win the 2019 Giro. Now, with the losses, he could be forced to switch to working for Nairo Quintana when the race resumes after tomorrow’s rest day with stage 11.