Fabio Aru has cut his previously planned appearance at Paris-Nice after his Astana team decided that his early season racing calendar was too intense. The French one-week race, which takes place at the start of March, was set to form part of Aru’s preparation for his debut Tour de France, along with races such as the Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
Instead of racing in France, Aru will spend some time at home before an altitude training camp in Tenerife. "The change in plans was decided after careful consideration that we have made together,” Astana directeur sportif Giuseppe Martinelli told Tuttobici.
“Simply we realized that Fabio’s programme was too intense at this early stage of the season, and it was better to lighten it. If we had confirmed his presence in the French race, immediately after the Algarve Fabio would have to fly over to Teide for a session and leave the day before the race and then keep going with Catalunya and the Basque Country."
Aru is currently riding the Volta ao Algarve, where he is currently in 10th place, 15 seconds down following the first mountain stage. It is his second race of the season after kicking things off at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana.
Following the finish of Algarve this Sunday, Aru will go home to Italy for a few days of rest. He’s set to go to Tenerife on March 1, where he will complete an altitude training camp. Aru will remain there until March 15, before returning to Italy once again.
Aru’s first race back after Algarve will be the Volta a Catalunya on March 27, followed by the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. While the team didn’t confirm anything past Pais Vasco, it is expected that he will make an appearance at the Ardennes Classics and later the Criterium du Dauphiné ahead of the Tour de France.