MADRID (Reuters) – Team Sky rider Mikel Landa has spoken of his anger at missing out on the Tour de France podium by one second, saying he sacrificed his chances on the Col d’Izoard finish.
Spaniard Landa came fourth overall, one second behind France’s Romain Bardet, but says team orders meant he lost 12 seconds on the Izoard summit finish last Thursday.
“On the Izoard I could have lifted my foot when they caught me, I could have moved into the wheels and I would not have lost 12 seconds,” he told Spanish newspaper El Pais.
“But I went ahead and pushed it, which was what Froome wanted. He told me to be slower, slower.
“That day I was very angry because I sacrificed myself without making a gain for the team.”
Landa was Chris Froome’s right-hand man in the mountains and looked strong on the Izoard climb, launching an attack which ultimately came to nothing as he reverted to working on the front of the group of yellow jersey contenders.
Landa had beaten Froome on the climb to Peyragudes in the Pyrenees the previous week — leading to suggestions that he was challenging the Briton’s authority in the team.
However, he said there was no problem with Froome who secured his fourth Tour title on Sunday.
“On my part, and I suppose on his (Froome’s) part too, we have talked about everything so that there would be nothing bad. We all came as one, and that’s how it was,” he said.
The Spaniard is reported to be a target for Spain’s Movistar team for next season.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)