Aru undergoes successful surgery for iliac artery problem

Stent expander positioned in Italian's left leg

Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) has undergone successful angioplasty surgery to treat a constriction of the iliac artery in his left leg. 

A week ago, UAE Team Emirates revealed that Aru would have to miss the Giro d'Italia in May after it was discovered that he had a constriction of his iliac artery. The constriction was preventing 'an adequate blood supply when trying to make a maximum effort'.

The Sardinian rider endured a difficult start to the season after poor 2018 season, failing to finish Paris-Nice at the start of March. He was supposed to return to racing at the the Volta a Catalunya last week but pulled out due to the diagnosis of his iliac artery problem.

"There were days when I felt dead on the bike. I was devastated. I felt terrible and even worse because I didn’t know why," Aru told La Gazzetta dello Sport after the news was revealed.

"The hair stands up on my arms as I talk about it but when the iliac artery problem was diagnosed, I cried. Only a few people know how much I’ve suffered. Despite total dedication I couldn't get anywhere near my usual level. I wasn't myself and so it was impossible to be happy. A tenth place in a race felt like a victory… but I don't race to finish 10th."

Aru had the surgery at the Nuovo Ospedale-Santo Stefano in Prato, Italy, performed by Dr Andrea Gori. The procedure involved placing a balloon catheter inside the artery, using a technique to minimise the invasiveness of it. It was completed with a stent, a small mesh tube that is used to treat narrow or weak arteries.

He will remain in hospital for a few days and it is not yet known when Aru will be able to return to racing.

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