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Bahrain-Merida confirm Mikel Landa signing from Movistar

Rider will move across to lead team's Grand Tour hopes as Vincenzo Nibali departs

Joe Robinson
5 Aug 2019

Bahrain-Merida have announced their signing of Basque Grand Tour contender Mikel Landa from Movistar.

The deal had been common knowledge for a while with Landa coming across to head the team's Grand Tour hopes as Vincenzo Nibali leaves for Trek-Segafredo.

Bahrain confirmed the move today in a press release stating Landa 'will be a major contributor to our stage race objectives' with team general manager Brent Copeland labelling Landa as one of the most 'competitive riders for the Grand Tours'.

'It is with immense pleasure that we welcome Mikel to our team, he is a rider who brings excitement to racing with his incredible climbing skills which makes him one of the most competitive riders for the grand tours,' said Copeland.

'His consistent results speak for themselves and his exceptional experience is something that we at Team Bahrain Merida know we can count on.'

Landa's move to Bahrain-Merida will see him pair up with Rod Ellingworth again, as the 46-year-old joins as the team's new principal from Team Ineos. The duo worked together during Landa's two years at Team Sky from 2016.

The pair will work towards taking Landa to a first career Grand Tour, a result that has eluded the Basque rider despite impressive consistency across the past five seasons.

The 29-year-old rode to the podium at the 2015 Giro d'Italia, despite riding in the services of team leader Fabio Aru, while at Astana before finishing fourth at the 2017 Tour de France while riding for Team Sky and eventual winner Chris Froome.

Landa then joined Movistar in 2018 with aspirations of racing a Grand Tour as sole team leader but this failed to transpire with duties being shared out between Landa, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde.

This confusion surrounding team leadership roles then culminated with Landa playing second fiddle to Giro winner Richard Carapaz in May before then falling short at last month's Tour as the team back three leaders for the overall win.

Landa will now be given a clear run at Grand Tour success in 2020 as the team's only GC hopeful, something he is particularly grateful for.

'I feel very proud of Team Bahrain Merida who has chosen me to lead this project. I feel really excited for coming challenge.'

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