Fabio Aru is set to line up at the 2015 Giro d'Italia as a candidate for leadership at Astana and one of the favourites for the maglia rosa but before he does so, he must piece together his challenge with a number of key stages in his development as rider.
The 24-year-old Aru finished third at the 2014 edition of the Giro d’Italia and won the stage to Plan di Montecampione. He backed that up with another strong performance at the Vuelta a España and is one of the most promising GC riders in the peloton.
"I will try to use the time trial bike more and more during training to get used to the position," he said. "Specialized helps me a lot because the guys are always mapping the parcours and are able to suggest the right setup and materials based on the course characteristics. They're always very attentive to the details.”
"I wanted to improve aerodynamics and efficiency with the different bikes, TT and road, and I wanted to have a comparison with the tests done in the velodrome last year before testing again this year," he said.
Aru pedalled nearly 150 kilometres during his tests in Morgan Hill, providing the aerodynamics team with sufficient data to make any needed tweaks to his riding position.
"With Fabio, the goal was to maximize his performance at his target race for 2015,” aerodynamics specialist Chris Yu told Cyclingnews. "This involved improving his efficiency in road stages so that he can save as much energy as possible during the three weeks as well as maximizing his speed for the long time trial.
And the Italian firmly believes that any work he puts into his time trial efforts will not have a destabilising effect on his ability to climb. “The TT is fundamental in a Grand Tour. Certainly more time gaps can be created in a time trial stage versus a mountain one but I won’t ignore the uphill work.
“For next year’s Giro time trial the first 30km are flat but then it’s an up and down. It’s not just for specialists. Nonetheless I'll certainly need to work hard to improve and close the gap.”
Leadership for the Giro d’Italia
Astana have yet to confirm their objectives for next season, with Vincenzo Nibali weighing up his options and mulling over whether he can target the defence of his Tour de France crown and have another tilt at the Giro, a race he won in 2013. Aru has already stated his desire to lead the team in a Grand Tour with one option being that Nibali could support his younger teammate in May before a role reversal in July.
As for Nibali, Aru was supportive of his teammate's achievements and goals: “He showed himself as one of the strongest riders in the peloton with three Grand Tour victories. I don’t know his plans for next season but I think he’ll want to confirm the Tour victory. He’s a true professional, though. I have no doubt he’ll do what the team will ask him to do.”
Click here for the full gallery of Fabio Aru's stint in the wind tunnel.