Aru unlikely to defend Italian national title after Giro d'Italia problems

UAE Team Emirates leader expected to ride Vuelta a Espana

Fabio Aru is unlikely to defend his Italian national title next Saturday as he tries to recover from a poor spring and retirement from the Giro d’Italia.

Cyclingnews understands Aru is back in training and will soon sit down with his UAE Team Emirates to decide his race programme for the second half of the season. Despite reports that Aru could decide to skip the Vuelta a Espana and ride a series of one-day races in August and September, it is more likely the Sardinian will stick to his original programme and ride the Spanish Grand Tour as key preparation for the World Road Race Championships in Innsbruck, Austria.

Aru quit the Giro d’Italia during stage 19 after struggling to be competitive in the key mountain stages. He has kept a low profile since then, staying at his home in Lugano while the UAE Team Emirates management try to understand the cause of Aru's problems.

Aru won the Italian national championships in 2017 before going on to finish fifth at the Tour de France, where he also wore the leader's yellow jersey for two days. This year's championships will be held in Darfo Boario Terme near Brescia next Saturday (June 30), but according to a report in the Corriere dello Sport newspaper, Aru will not defend his 'tricolore' jersey as he continues to recover from his Giro d’Italia woes.

UAE Team Emirates are expected to name Dan Martin and Alexander Kristoff as their team leaders for the Tour de France. 

Aru is likely to return to racing at the Tour de Pologne (August 4-10). The Vuelta a Espana  begins on August 25 and ends on September 16.

According to a recent report in La Gazzetta dello Sport, medical tests carried after Aru quit the Giro d'Italia have indicated that some kind of food intolerance may have impacted his performance. His training, under the guidance of former teammate turned personal coach Paolo Tiralongo, has also been questioned.

"Everybody has been humble, not to defend themselves but to understand where we can improve. Fabio has helped us a lot and was the first to question what he did wrong without defending his own interests," the UAE Team Emirates general manager Beppe Saronni told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We can’t hide that there were some problems, and so we’re all under pressure. But we've all been willing to investigate what happened and understand why it happened."

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