Mikel Landa takes his first win in Team Sky colours
Mikel Landa stormed into the race lead at the Tour of the Basque Country with a stunning display of climbing on his home stage.
The Spaniard attacked with Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) on the day’s final climb and then outsprinted the Dutchman to seal the win, with Sergio Henao bursting from what remained of the peloton to take third and crown a fantastic day.
Landa covered early attacks on the steep 3km ascent before riding away with Kelderman and, although there was a response from the peloton late on with Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) attempting to bridge across, the pair stayed away.
Kelderman was poised on the wheel in the final metres but didn’t have an answer, with Landa even having time to sit up and adjust his jersey before crossing the line for his first win in Team Sky colours. Henao came home five seconds back in third, with those positions replicated in the overall standings.
The stage always seemed likely to end in a shootout on the final climb, although the two men left in the day’s break, Stefan Denifl (IAM) and Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural-RGA), had a gap of four minutes with 37km to go.
As the road became increasingly lumpy the gap started to come down though and the pair were swept up with 10km remaining.
Sky set a punishing pace up the penultimate climb and strung the peloton out, before a long descent led to a sharp left hand turn onto the day’s last ascent, where Landa sprung into action.
With fans having painted his name all over the road the Spaniard drove up the long hill and sealed a win that will live long in the memory.
Tour of the Basque Country 2016 – stage 2 results (Markina-Xemein – Amurrio-Baranbio):
|1||Mikel Landa Meana (Sky)||
|2||Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo)||
|3||Sergio Henao (Sky)||
|4||Samuel Sanchez (BMC)||
|5||Alberto Contador (Tinkoff)||
|6||Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)||
|7||Rui Costa (Lampre – Merida)||
|8||Nairo Quintana (Movistar)||
|9||Robert Gesink (LottoNl-Jumbo)||
|10||Sébastien Reichenbach (FDJ)||