Mikel Landa: “I didn’t have my best day today”

Giro d’Italia resumed on Italian soil with a 200-kilometre test that proved much more challenging than many anticipated, with less than 30 riders coming home in the lead peloton. Landa crossed the line in 20th, surrounded by his main rivals and elevated himself to a promising 16th overall, 47 seconds off pink, but the Spanish rider hasn’t had the best day.

“The teams with fast riders but no sprinters tried to blow out the sprinters by going all out on the last climbs, and it was extremely fast on that final [unclassified] ascent, particularly the last part,” Landa said. “I didn’t have my best day today, but I was up there with the best. The descent was tricky, but Astana kept up a good pace there and I ended up coming through fine. I’ve got through this day and I’m ready for another.”

Sport Director Dario Cioni admitted the stage had been tougher than anticipated but was pleased with the way his riders had risen to the challenge.

“It was a very fast stage. Nippo [Vini Fantini] weren’t happy with the composition of that early breakaway so they chased for a long time – I think the average speed for the first hour was around 50km/h.  It was also very warm and the last 75km were pretty difficult. It’s always hard for riders after a rest day as well, so all those factors combined to make it more selective than we expected.”, said Dario Cioni.

“When the attacks started it was good to always have someone up the road. Sebastian and David got themselves into that front group and we kept David there as we didn’t know if it would stay away. In the end only Ulissi survived and he did a really good ride to get his win.

“Back in the peloton, Nico and Mikel rode well and made it look easy when they were closing the gaps on the climbs, and then Nico did very good to get into the top 10.”

Wednesday’s stage sees the riders travel 233km from Praia a Mare to Benevento and Cioni is looking forward to seeing Elia Viviani get himself back in the mix.

He added: “It’s a long day tomorrow and it’s not going to be a straightforward sprint as the final circuit is pretty tough – the road rises all the way into Benevento. We’re hoping Kittel might have lost a bit of power today so if Elia is there he will definitely try again for the stage win.”