Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) was a “bit of a prat” for attacking and then abandoning on Stage 17 at La Vuelta, according to Eurosport expert Brian Smith.
The Spaniard was expected to ride in support of teammate Jack Haig, who sat sixth in the general classification ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Lagos de Covadonga.
But despite being 48 minutes back on GC, Landa launched a surprise attack off the front of the peloton on the first of two ascents of La Collada Llomena, quickly reeling in the lead group and hinting at an unlikely stage victory.
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The show of strength did not last, however, with the 31-year-old soon slipping off the pace before abandoning entirely.
“Today I tried to get the feeling with an attack to go in the break, but I still was not feeling good,” said Landa.
“I now need to focus on other goals and get back to my best. I wish the guys and Jack [Haig] to keep going strong and fight for the podium in GC."
It leaves Bahrain Victorious a rider light in their quest to secure a podium for Haig, who climbed to fourth on GC on Stage 17 – 3:46 off red jersey Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) and 35 seconds off the top three.
“I thought he [Landa] was a bit of a prat to be honest,” said Smith on The Breakaway ahead of Stage 18.
“He went on the attack earlier in the stage and then climbed off. He didn’t actually help Jack Haig at all. You don’t go into a stage and go on the attack and then later climb off when you’ve got someone that’s going for a podium position.
“If he didn’t have it in the end after testing out the legs, you still stay in the race if you’ve got someone going for a podium. That’s just my opinion and I’m going to say it.”
Smith had previously hyped Landa ahead of the Giro d’Italia in May, only to see him wiped out in a big crash on Stage 5.
Landa had surgery after breaking his collarbone and fracturing ribs and only returned to racing at the end of July.

Highlights: Landa crashes out as Ewan wins Stage 5

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