Landa impressive in Alcalá de los Gazules (2nd)
17 February 2018

Vuelta a Andalucía (st. 4)

Courageous attitude -same as his team-mates Amador, Carretero and Erviti, into the breaks during the stage- brings Basque from Movistar Team into provisional GC podium in Andalucía, before Sunday's TT showdown.

The Movistar Team completed another great overall performance on stage four of the 2018 Vuelta a Andalucía, held on Saturday over 194km from Sevilla to Alcalá de los Gazules with a hard course, including the ‘puertos’ of Las Palomas (Cat-1), the Boyar (Cat-3) and a grueling, cobbled ascent inside the final 1.5 kilometers.

Mikel Landa took 2nd in the day, behind Belgian Tim Wellens (LTS) -new race leader-, after showing once again his courageous attitude, jumping from the bottom of the final climb and only allowing the day’s winner to follow his wheel and overtake him into the last 200m, the bunch shattered behind the Basque climber.

The Murgia native’s attitude was the continuation of a series of valiant attempts from the Blues. Imanol Erviti was part of the early 13-man break, leading the race until the Palomas climb. Later on, a counter attack from Héctor Carretero and Andrey Amador into the ascents allowed the ‘tico’ keeping his team at the front, a superb move alongside Vanmarcke (EFD) taking him into the very Alcalá uphill finish in the lead of the race.

The new overall classification -the race will be decided on Sunday with a 14km TT in and around Barbate- sees Landa sitting in 2nd place, 7″ behind Wellens and ahead of Wout Poels (SKY, +11″) and Astana duo Jakob Fuglsang (+14″) and Luis León Sánchez (+20″). In turn, Marc Soler continues to perform strong and finished 6th today, maintaining his GC place at 32″ -twenty-one seconds behind the provisional podium-.

REACTION / Mikel Landa:

“It was a really tough climb, and after realising that I was one of the strongest uphill in Allanadas on Thursday, I didn’t want to wait until the sprint and decided to jump from the foot of the ascent. The ‘problem’ for me is that I was joined by such a strong rider on cobblestones as Wellens. As soon as we hit the ‘rocks’, I got stuck and he just flew over. I tried to increase my pace quickly, but I wasn’t able to up my speed on the cobblestones and he was just sitting on his saddle and staying clear. I lacked experience on such terrain and also a bit of energy to match his pace. Still, I’m very satisfied with the result. It was a very demanding day and the team was brilliant, especially with that move by Andrey in the finale. We wanted to take this win today, but it wasn’t to be. The GC remains really close and it should be a tight battle in the time trial tomorrow. Everyone around me in the standings should be more of a specialist for tomorrow’s TT, but I’ll keep on fighting until the end.”

Picture (c): Luis Ángel Gómez / Photo Gomez Sport