What a difference 24 hours can make. Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia looked to be a promising start to the overall race for Bahrain-Victorious GC leader Mikel Landa when he finished 14th on the stage with a cluster of other pink jersey hopefuls. With just over 3 km to go on stage 5, however, Landa collided with a traffic island, sending him tumbling to the ground along with Joe Dombrowski, winner of stage 4 just a day prior.
Landa was immediately surrounded by medics, with a teammate on hand in case he needed a buddy to ride to the finish with. Unfortunately, the Spanish rider did not finish the stage and instead was taken away in an ambulance. The extent of his injuries are as of yet unknown, but one thing is certain, Landa’s bid for pink is over.
Landa has spent years hovering around the top 10 of the Grand Tour general classifications, and there was hope that Landa would finally land on the podium of this year’s Giro d’Italia.
After scoring fourth at the Tour de France in 2017, with his Team Sky teammate Chris Froome taking the overall victory, Landa left the Grand Tour dominating team to join Movistar in hopes of becoming a Grand Tour winner himself. In 2020 he picked up and went over the Bahrain-Victorious where he again took home fourth at the Tour de France. In between those two results, Landa also finished 4th at the Giro d’Italia in 2019.
A strong climber, Landa has struggled with nailing time trial stages in the past. On the opening ITT of the Giro, he finished 77th, 49 seconds down on the stage winner Filippo Ganna, and roughly 30 seconds down on a handful other other GC favourites.
Bahrain-Victorious will likely now turn their general classification hope to Pello Bilbao. As of stage 5, Bilboa sat 21st in the overall competition, two minutes and 12 seconds down on the leader Alessandro De Marchi. Bilboa had a strong lead-up to the Giro d’Italia, finishing second overall at the Tour of the Alps in April, so although the loss of Landa will hit hard, the fight for the GC is not completely over for Bahrain-Victorious.