Fabio Aru is still undecided as to whether to ride the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France in 2019. The UAE Team Emirates rider was previously expected to line out at the Giro, though he pointed out that the route of the Tour suits him better than a corsa rosa with its three individual time trials.
Speaking at the UAE Team Emirates training camp in Tarragona this week, Aru confirmed his first three races of the 2019 season but added that a final decision has yet to be made on his Grand Tour programme.
"I’ll start in Mallorca at the end of January, then I’ll do the Volta ao Algarve and the Volta a Catalunya,” Aru told RAI television. "As for the Grand Tours, we’ve done some tests during this training camp and we still need a few days to evaluate everything and decide what will be the best choice for me. The route of the Tour de France is better suited to my characteristics than the Giro. On the other hand, for an Italian, the Giro is a beautiful race."
Dan Martin led the UAE Team Emirates challenge at the 2018 Tour, winning a stage at Mur-de-Bretagne and placing 8th overall. The Irishman was also named the Tour’s most combative rider and expressed a desire to the return to the race in 2019. New UAE Team Emirates signing Fernando Gaviria is also expected to be part of the Tour squad, as he bids to add to his tally of sprint wins at La Grande Boucle.
Aru endured a trying Giro in 2018, slipping out of the race for final overall victory on the summit finish at Gran Sasso d’Italia on stage 9. He was docked 20 seconds for illegal drafting in the stage 16 time trial before abandoning the race two days before the finish in Rome.
The Sardinian’s troubled debut season at UAE Team Emirates continued at the Vuelta a España, where he could only manage 23rd overall in Madrid. He continued his season into October, lining out at the Tour of Guangxi in China, where he expressed a desire to reset in 2019.
Aru has twice finished on the podium of the Giro, placing third in 2014 and second in 2015, the same year he claimed overall victory at the Vuelta. He finished 13th overall on his Tour debut in 2016 before improving to fifth a year later, when he also won a stage to La Planche des Belles Filles and spent two days in the yellow jersey.
"I want to ride and do well,” Aru said of his 2019 season. "I ride because I like it, it’s a passion that became a job. Like all jobs, it has its difficulties, but it’s beautiful because I like it and because of the people who follow me."