Fabio Aru will ride for UAE Team Emirates in 2018 after signing a three-year contract with the team. Aru’s arrival from Astana had been widely anticipated since early summer, but the transfer was only formally confirmed on Tuesday morning.
The Italian champion will join fellow new signings Dan Martin and Alexander Kristoff on an overhauled UAE Team Emirates roster next season.
“I’m honoured that the UAE Team Emirates management and their sponsors want to unite our cycling endeavours. I thank them for the faith they’ve placed in me and I hope to live up to their expectations,” Aru said in a statement released by the team. “I would also like to thank everyone who has been with me up to now in my career, they’ve all been important to my growth.”
Aru turned professional with Astana in the summer of 2012 and has remained with the Kazakhstani team ever since. The Sardinian won the 2015 Vuelta a España and finished on the podium at the Giro d’Italia in 2014 and 2015 during his time at Astana.
Aru’s 2017 campaign was interrupted by a training crash in April that forced him to miss the Giro d’Italia with a knee injury, but he returned to action in time to claim the Italian national title in June. Aru proceeded to place fifth overall at the Tour de France after winning at La Planche des Belles Filles and enjoying a brief stint in the yellow jersey.
By that point, Aru’s transfer to UAE Team Emirates seemed inevitable, but he made one further Grand Tour appearance for Astana, placing 13th at the Vuelta.
For much of his time at Astana, Aru shared leadership duties with Vincenzo Nibali, and it is expected that he will divide the Grand Tour calendar at UAE Team Emirates with fellow new signing Dan Martin, who placed sixth overall at this year’s Tour. Martin is expected to lead the team at the Tour de France while Aru will target the Giro d'Italia.
“We welcome a champion like Fabio Aru; his skills perfectly match the ambitions of the team,” said team manager Carlo Saronni.
“Besides highlighting Aru’s enormous potential, I’d like to point out that Aru is a rider who can stir up excitement among the fans. He is well-loved because of his generosity on a bike. With his performances, he will contribute to promoting an ideal team image and he will likely help us reach important competitive milestones.”