Following his abandon at Paris-Nice earlier this month, Fabio Aru will jump back into the peloton next week at the Volta a Catalunya in Spain. Aru will be joined in the WorldTour race, which runs from March 25-31, by UAE Team Emirates teammate Dan Martin, who won the overall there in 2013 and has claimed stage wins in both 2013 and 2016.
"The Volta a Catalunya is always a race I look forward to – even more so this year with my family being roadside for a number of the stages," Martin said in a team press release. "I know the course well since I live in the region, and, having raced the Volta a Catalunya nearly every year of my career, I know the roads well."
Supporting Martin and Aru on the climber-heavy UAE roster are Cristian Muñoz, Rui Oliveira, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi and Rory Sutherland.
Martin has had a steady beginning to his 2019 season so far, with just 14 race days of racing in his legs, having started at the Challenge Mallorca in February. However, he's since achieved top-10 finishes at both the Volta a Valenciana – where he was fourth overall – and the UAE Tour, where he finished seventh.
"So far, this season has been consistent, so hopefully we can continue to race well as a team, but Catalunya is a wide-open race this year," Martin said. "Every day will be important, and a very strong field of top riders means it will be a good, tactical race. I feel good, so we shall see what happens."
Aru, on the other hand, has continued to struggle in the peloton. He finished eighth and 15th in his first two races at the Challenge Mallorca, but since then has ridden fairly anonymously through the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice, where he dropped out during stage 3.
"A few days after I abandoned Paris-Nice, I began to feel better," Aru said in the team's Catalunya-roster announcement. "The Volta a Cataluyna is a race that's very hard. I'll see in the first stages how I'm feeling and what goals I can reach. I have a desire to do well, so I'm taking this race on with a positive mindset."
UAE Team Emirates for the 2019 Volta a Catalunya: Fabio Aru, Daniel Martin, Cristian Muñoz, Rui Oliveira, Simone Petilli, Edward Ravasi, Rory Sutherland.