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Aru responds to Nibali's letter and confirms Giro d'Italia absence

Fabio Aru has responded to Vincenzo Nibali’s recent open letter by penning an epistle of his own in the pages of La Gazzetta dello Sport to reiterate once more that he will not be able to participate in the Giro d’Italia.

Aru was ruled out of the Giro last week after it emerged that he had sustained pre-patellar bursitis after injuring his left knee in a training crash at Sierra Nevada on April 2. His former Astana teammate Nibali, who moved to Bahrain-Merida in the off-season, wrote an open letter to Aru in La Gazzetta after the news broke, urging him to start the Giro in his native Sardinia.

Although Aru was back in the saddle on Wednesday, training for two hours on the flat, his Astana team released a statement confirming that Giro participation was not a possibility. He expanded further on his situation in his missive to Nibali on Friday.

“Vincenzo, I’ve read and reread your letter, and I thought for a long time of how nice it would be to respond to you with a nice, ‘Yes, I’ll be at the start of the 100th Giro too,’ but unfortunately life puts us through hard tests,” Aru wrote.

“With my heart in my hand, I must tell you that I would, with every fibre of my being, love to be able to challenge you on the climbs of Giro 100, on Mount Etna and the Block Haus, all the way to the Stelvio. Unfortunately, this injury has forced me to stay off the bike for more than two weeks now. To give you an example, when I stopped at the end of 2016, I was off the bike for just three weeks… and then I had to start from zero again.”

Following examination by Professor Franco Combi earlier in the week, Aru was informed that the pre-patellar bursitis had cleared up, though some cartilage damage was still evident. Although he is back on the bike, the Sardinian said it would be another ten days or so before he was ready to start full training again – too late to be ready for a Giro that gets underway in his native Sardinia on May 5.

“As the intelligent and sensitive lad you always showed yourself to be, I think that you too can understand that coming to the Giro after three weeks off the bike and without training would not be serious, neither for my team (which has always placed great trust in me) nor for my fans, who have been incredibly close to me in these difficult weeks, and to whom I owe so much.”

In Aru’s absence, Astana will be led by Michele Scarponi, and no date has yet been set for his return to competition. “I’ll be cheering on my teammates, Michele Scarponi above all, who is the team captain in my absence,” Aru wrote. “But I can tell you, dear Vincenzo, that I sincerely hope you can do well too, maybe allying yourself with ‘Scarpa’ or the many other strong Italians to see the Italian tricolour flying above all other flags in Piazza Duomo in Milan.”

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