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Among the many words coined by cycling, there is one that has entered the hearts of fans as a true way of life. Landismo is much more than cheering or taking sides, it is a way of dealing with situations. It is anticipation, expectation, illusion and disillusionment, an existence full of misunderstood talent, sometimes even by itself. Landismo is often just art for show.
I think it all started in 2015," explains Mikel Landa himself. "I was at the Giro to help a teammate, I didn't have the chance to do much, then I won the stage in Aprica in a breakaway and that's when people started to identify with me. I was closer to them than they thought. That's what Landismo is: a way of seeing, or experiencing, cycling that ordinary people like because it's closer to their everyday lives. It's easier to share something with a rider who has had a lot of bad luck and missed opportunities than with an off-roader who only wins"
Mikel's relationship with his fans is exactly what you would expect: authentic and unfiltered, typical of a pragmatic, no-nonsense champion. He himself confirms that it is easier to relate to people on the roads:
“I still consider myself old-fashioned and not a very social person, I prefer human contact. So I like to spend time with my supporters during the races, I try to talk to them as they approach a start, for example, to say hello, cheer them on or ask for a photo. I like to see their faces, not behind a screen, to have a personal dialogue with them.”
Hands low on the handlebars, attacking stance: the Basque rider's momentum is a veritable iconography of cycling. When Landa tries to overturn the cards, whatever the result, people become deeply emotional. It is not the quest for victory per se, but the firing of that flame that sets hearts aflame.
"For me, to attack is to rebel," he explains. "When I shoot, I have to break out and break an established order. There is a situation of control and you have to break it to find your opportunity, you have to do it the fastest way to be the first atop a summit or across a finish line. It's instinct".
On the eve of the Vuelta a España 2023, Landa is still the same attacker looking for redemption. Asked why this race is so great, he responds with few but fiery words, true to his style:
"The Vuelta is a super intense and explosive race, from the first day to the last. But it's so hard that you just have to try and enjoy it.”
So the fans will have another chance to hope, to dream, to wait for the attack that will come when you least expect it, suddenly or not at all, as cycling is wont to do.