Mikel Landa will debut for Team Sky at Coppi e Bartali on Thursday after a lengthy lay-off with illness at the start of the season


Mikel Landa will make his long-awaited debut for Team Sky at Italian stage race Settimana Coppi e Bartali on Thursday and admits he cannot wait to pin his race number on.

The Basque rider has been sidelined so far this year by illness, which has severely set back his preparations for the Giro d’Italia in May.

And while Landa admits he won’t be on top form for his first race, he’s still confident of going to the Giro in good shape to compete for the title.

“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,” he told AS.

“I can not 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. We have had a very good start to the season, we have won many races, and I want to be part as soon as possible.”

Landa will have two other stage races on his schedule to help him prepare for the Giro, where he finished third overall in 2015.

From Coppi e Bartali he will head to the Tour of the Basque Country before returning to Italy for the Giro del Trentino in mid-April.

>>> Mikel Landa takes second stage victory on gruelling day at Giro d’Italia

The 26-year-old also suffered a delay to his 2015 season, starting at the Volta a Catalunya in late March, and still managed to perform well at the year’s first Grand Tour.

“I think that experience can help me this time,” he added. “I would love to have had more time to prepare for the Giro, to be more relaxed, but there is [no more time]. Illnesses are common in our sport and I hope I [come back] as strong as in 2015.”

  • Derek Biggerstaff

    The drugs are finally out of my system!