Mikel Landa admits he was lacking confidence heading into first mountain finish at Vuelta a España

Mikel Landa revealed that he had no confidence in himself heading into stage three of the Vuelta a España 2021. 

Landa seemed like he was on top form when he sent his entire Bahrain Victorious team to the front of the peloton to pace up the Picón Blanco, with two-time Critérium du Dauphiné stage winner Mark Padun doing the lion’s share of the work.

Speaking after the stage, as reported by Cycling News, Basque climber Landa said: “The stage was long and tough, with a lot of headwind – This also had consequences for the course of the stage. We decided to climb the final climb at a brisk pace to see how I felt.”

The high tempo set by the team meant that only David De La Cruz (UAE Team Emirates) put in any sort of major attack with Brit, Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) following the Spanish rider.

“The conclusion is that I am happy with the feeling and with how the final went.” Landa continued. “I had no confidence in the stage at all, but I was still able to follow the best riders.”

Landa managed to take ninth on the stage which moved him up into 10th in the general classification, 1-09 behind surprise leader Rein Taaramäe (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and just 39 seconds behind favourite Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).

“My goal is to get through the next few days as best I can and I believe in that a lot more now.” He added.

“I am sure that I will improve in the coming stages. I can now believe more in my own chances.”

Some race favourites such as Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech), Romain Bardet (DSM) and Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) all lost time to Landa and co. 

The fourth stage of the Vuelta goes from El Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragón over a 163.9km route with a uphill sprint likely to be on the cards. GC favourites will have to stay close to the front to avoid any gaps.

This content was originally published here.

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