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ASOLO, Italy (VN) — American Ian Boswell said Team Sky turned to plan B Wednesday after its Giro d’Italia general classification star Mikel Landa abandoned with a stomach problem.
Boswell and his teammates stepped off Sky’s black bus Wednesday morning in Modena, the original home of Ferrari, to sunshine and possibilities. Even though they waved “ciao” to their leader, they gained the freedom to fight for stage wins. Boswell, while reaching for his bike, said the British super team hit its reset button now that Landa is gone.
“It changes a lot for us,” Boswell said. “It’s definitely a disappointment for the whole team and for myself, we worked petty hard to get here. We all sacrificed a lot in preparation, but it does open up new avenues for us to try to get some results and stage wins. In that sense, we still have opportunities for individual stages. Every day, it’s a green light to try to get a stage win now, to get the stage that suits each rider.”
The 25-year-old from Bend, Oregon is racing his first Giro d’Italia after making his grand tour debut in the Vuelta a España last August. With his altitude training and good form, he could aim for one of the big mountain stages in the coming week. In one of the Vuelta’s toughest stages last year, Boswell placed third.
“What stages? Stage 14, the altitude stage, if the right break goes. Then stages 19 and 20 [near the border with France] are roads that I know well,” Boswell said. “Obviously, I’m not going to ride away from Vincenzo Nibali or Alejandro Valverde, but if I’m in the right break that stays away and hit the bottom of the last climb with a little bit of an advantage, it could be all right.”
Sky signed Landa over the winter after he placed third in the 2015 Giro d’Italia while racing with team Astana. In that Giro, he looked stronger at times than his teammate Fabio Aru, who placed second and nearly upset winner Alberto Contador of Tinkoff.
Though his season started late because of a cold, the 26-year-old Landa looked to be on track when he won the overall at the Giro del Trentino with Boswell’s help. It all unraveled Tuesday, the day after the Giro’s second rest day, when Landa lost pace on the first climb and abandoned with stomach problems.
“We didn’t talk about it before the race, I saw him on the bus and he didn’t look maybe 100 percent, but he’s also a pretty mellow guy, so for him to nap before the stage isn’t abnormal,” Boswell said. “He puts his headphones on on the bus and just relaxes. He does that most stages. Talking with Nicolas Roche, we both thought he was really focused and he’s going to smash it. You never know after a rest day how people come out of it. We didn’t know that he was ill.”