Mikel Landa will be back in action for Team Sky this Thursday at the Italian Stage race Settimana Coppi e Bartali on Thursday after illness has completely disrupted his season so far.
Sir Dave Brailsford hired Landa from rivals Astana in the off-season in the hope that he would spearhead Sky’s Giro d’Italia push; but illness has prevented him from getting on the bike, but Sky are confident that he can still put in a good showing at the Giro in May.
After the race on Thursday, Landa still has two races on his schedule, the Tour of the Basque Country and then the Giro del Trentino in the middle of April, so it should give the former Astana rider enough time to get some miles in the legs.
Landa says he is ‘fully recovered’ and ‘ready to go’ as he targets his comeback this Thursday
Gaining an injury or illness early in the season can be a big problem for riders, as it restricts their ability in the Grand Tours later in the year. But Landa had a similar problem in 2015 where he started the season with injury; so he is well aware of what he will have to do to get into shape for the Giro.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, the 26-year-old said: “It’s been a long time since I raced for the last time, but in the last month I’ve trained hard and I feel better every day. I am fully recovered and ready to go.”
Sky has been performing well in the early season races; Geraint Thomas got a marvellous win at Paris-Nice, the biggest of his career so far. And the British based team have also performed well in the Classics with Ben Swift sprinting to second at the Milan-Sanremo last weekend.
But Landa is itching to get on the bike to help his teammates: “I cannot wait. Being out for so long, my condition will not be 100%, so I have to get used to [race] pace again, but I’m happy to be part of the team again,” said Landa.
The Giro is the primary aim for Landa this season, he performed well last year, so Sky are hoping he can repeat the trick and possibly aim for a podium place.
Obviously his training time has been cut short with injury and it is something the Spanish rider is aware of.
“I would love to have had more time to prepare for the Giro, to be more relaxed,” said Landa.