Mikel Landa will be replaced by fellow Basque rider David Lopez in the Team Sky Vuelta a España line-up. after he was forced to withdraw from the squad with injury.
Landa, who started the Giro d’Italia before abandoning and completed the Tour de France in support of Chris Froome, was due to start his home race but an MRI scan revealed the extent of an injury to his hip and the team chose to replace him in the line-up.
Lopez, who won a stage of Vuelta in 2010, will now link up with the squad ahead of the opening team time trial on Saturday. It’s the 35-year-old’s 15th Grand Tour, having completed the Giro earlier this year.
“Mikel told us that he had been suffering with discomfort in his hip and upper leg,” said Team Sky doctor Inigo Sarriegui. “We sent him for a scan but have decided that the best thing at this stage is to take Mikel out of the Vuelta line up.
“Obviously he is disappointed, but starting a Grand Tour when you are already experiencing pain from an injury risks aggravating it further and could cause more problems.”
26-year-old Landa, who took stage victory on the mountainous stage to Andorra in last year’s Vuelta, says he was disappointed to be forced to miss the year’s final Grand Tour.
“I’m disappointed to have to withdraw from the team, especially so close to the start of the race,” Landa said.
“I was motivated to perform well at the Vuelta, but the pain I have had means I wouldn’t be ready to perform at my best. We have agreed that it’s best for me to focus on recovering properly so I can get fit and get back to racing.
“We have a strong team for the Vuelta and I’m very disappointed that I won’t be there, but I wish the guys good luck and know they will have a great race.”