“The demand is still there, but now it’s different”

Mikel Landa (Murguía, 1989) is competing in a different Tour for him. He is changing teams, the objective is different, but the ambition remains the same. The reality is that his best Grand Tours have always been subordinated to others such as Froome in the Tour or Aru in the Giro d’Italia, and perhaps for this reason he does not rule out anything as Evenepoel’s squire.

QUESTION. For the first time in a long time, you are facing a Grand Tour without any general classification requirements. How are you coping with this? Do you feel that you are under less pressure?

ANSWER. It’s different, but I still have the pressure of being with Remco until the end, so don’t think there’s less pressure, it’s just different.

Q. What does Remco have that other colleagues you’ve been with don’t?

R. He is a cyclist who can compete in many types of races and he is the best in time trials. He makes the team have to be with him always because he can compete in any stage. He is one of the most complete cyclists in the world.

Remco makes the team have to be with him at all times because he can compete in any stage. He is one of the most complete cyclists in the world.

Q. There are always doubts about your performance in the high mountains.

R. Well, he was with the best at Galibier. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.

Pogacar strikes the first blow on the Tour de France table

Q: Where do you think you can be of most help?

R. I think that days like the one in Galibier, on mountain days. I hope to be with him until the end, perhaps in some moment of chaos, when the car cannot give him any indication. To be there, with him, to make the decision of what to do.

Perhaps in some moment of chaos is where I can help Remco the most, when the car cannot give him an indication.

Q. What is he like as a person?

R. The truth is that he is very normal within what he can because he has a lot of pressure on him, which is also very demanding of himself. He is a very friendly and nice person, the truth is.

Q. This is his first Tour, do you sense he has any doubts about the unknown?

R. I’ve seen him as he is: normal. He had some doubts before arriving at the Tour, but you can see how he is showing himself in the race. Every day he is feeling better, he is growing, in a good way, and I see him doing well.

Q. How can Soudal beat Pogacar and Vingegaard?

R. With someone like Remco, someone who can stand up to them in the time trial, who can even beat them and who can then be at their level to fight for bonuses like he did the other day. Let’s see if we can all maintain the same level in the mountains and he still isn’t far behind.

Q. How did you experience the merger with Visma?

R. It was a few weeks of uncertainty, but I had spoken with Remco and Patrick (Lefevere) and had no further news. I believed in this project and luckily it remained that way.

Q. The Wolfpack is the team that has won the most stages in the history of the Tour. Is that pressure felt on the bus?

R. It’s something I didn’t know and they told me. They’re a very ambitious team. Until now they’ve focused a lot on stages and now it’s completely different, they have to manage their efforts a little bit, thinking a little more about the general classification.

Evenepoel, Landa, Lampaert… eight children’s dreams come true

Q. Is Lefevere as hard-pressed as he is portrayed to be?

R. The truth is that he seems very relaxed, at the moment he is not really on top of us, giving us the scoldings that the press says. Everything is normal.

I have completely changed my training. Maybe I feel a little more fresh, but, well, it is difficult to change at this age.

Q. This season you have tried to gain a little more explosiveness, do you think that has improved?

R. I have completely changed my training. Maybe I feel a little more fresh, but, well, it is difficult to change at this age.

Q. Will there be #FreeLanda this Tour de France again?

R. Maybe one day there will be a chance to go for the stage, but as I told you, I have my mind set on helping Remco as much as possible, so day by day.

 
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