Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) will race more sparingly in the opening months of the 2019 season and is scheduled to clock up just 14 race days ahead of the Giro d’Italia, which gets underway in Bologna on May 11.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Aru will begin his season at the Challenge Mallorca in late January and then ride the Volta ao Algarve in February and the Volta a Catalunya in March, before using April to build towards the Giro.
The Sardinian has yet to confirm which Grand Tours he will ride this season, but it appears increasingly likely that he will return to the corsa rosa despite the presence of three individual time trials on the route. His participation in the Tour de France is less certain, given the presence of Dan Martin – ninth overall in 2018 – and new arrival Fernando Gaviria.
During his debut season with UAE Team Emirates, Aru compiled some 22 days of racing ahead of the Giro, but never captured his best form in May and abandoned the race two days before the finish. His 2019 programme is set to be more in line with his schedule during his tenure at Astana.
Aru finished second in the 2015 Giro after amassing just 14 race days beforehand. In 2013, he made an impressive Giro debut after pinning on a number just 13 times before the start in Naples.
"I’ll race some stages in Mallorca, then Algarve and Catalunya, where I would like to be competitive," Aru told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The team will tell me the rest in January. There is little point in making proclamations now.
"If we look at the technical characteristics of the Tour, it’s definitely more suited to me than the Giro, where there are three time trial stages, which certainly aren’t my speciality. But I’ve never hidden that my heart says Giro. We’ll see."
UAE Team Emirates manager Joxean Matxin Fernandez appeared to confirm Aru’s Giro participation but said that a decision had yet to be taken on the Tour.
"From Catalunya onwards, he should start to be a bit competitive. From there, he will do specific training to be in top condition for the Giro,” Matxin told La Gazzetta. "His desire to ride the Tour? We’ll talk about that further on."