Mikel Landa seems to be spending his off-season sending warning signals. The Spanish grand tour star keeps sounding off in the media that he won’t be riding for anyone but himself in the Tour de France.
Here’s his new quote for Velonews: “No [there will be no friction with Quintana]. That time of being a helper is over. I was stopped both in Astana and Sky, when I had legs to win. If you tell me to stop again, I won’t. It’s my turn to pursue my goals.”
It’s an odd collection of words.
He knows Quintana is the team captain for the Tour and Quintana, for his part, has also made that fact abundantly clear. However, Landa’s quote makes it clear that he expects a free hand and doesn’t plan on pulling for the Colombian for a single climb in the Pyrenees and Alps. And no matter what Movistar’s race plans for Quintana and the team, Landa is saying that when he sees his opportunity, he will take it no matter what team director Eusebio Unzue is screaming into his earpiece.
This seems like a big problem — a ticking time bomb set to go off in July in France. Things are going to get salty on the road, in the team bus and in front of the media. Landa keeps repeating his mantra: no more sacrificing, not for Aru, not for Froome, certainly not for Quintana.
“I faced three weeks of braking, in the service of Froome. I knew what I was going for, although I would have appreciated if they had helped me get on the podium in Paris,” said Landa, who seems to be increasingly bitter about his one second miss at the third step of the podium in Le Grand Shindig.
Landa seems to have a very curious idea about how he and Quintana can co-exist in the Tour de France. It might be clear to him but it sure isn’t clear to anyone else. “I understand that Nairo stresses his status as a leader. He wants his opportunities, like me. I deserve my chance and we will complement each other.”
How does that “compliment” work, exactly? Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Should Landa screw up Quintana’s shot at winning the 2018 Tour de France, you can bet the Colombian will leave Movistar immediately. Ain’t no helpers here.