Fabio Aru and Fernando Gaviria will lead the UAE Team Emirates squad in next week’s Vuelta a Burgos with the former Vuelta a Espana winner ready to kick-start his season as he builds up for the Tour de France. The Vuelta a Burgos takes place from July 28 to August 1.
Aru, riding out the final year of his current three-year deal on the team, has only raced six days so far in 2020 but the Italian will look to compete in the hilly and mountainous stages in Spain, while Gaviria targets the sprint finishes, of which there are likely to be two. The Colombian will be supported by his loyal and experienced leadout rider, Max Richeze.
“We are excited and ready to return to competition in Burgos,” Aru said in a press release issued by his team.
“In lockdown I had the chance to spend time at home with my young family and am feeling refreshed. It was also a time of hard work – recently I was with the team at altitude in Sestriere where we put in good hours of training. We are all eager to be able to pin a race number on our backs again and be back in the peloton.”
Aru has had a difficult few years since joining the team in 2018. He showed a dramatic loss of form and had cytomegalovirus. This came after he was forced into surgery for a previously undiagnosed iliac artery problem. However, with his health now back on track the Italian is keen to get back into the swing of competitive racing. The 30-year-old still believes that he can compete at the top-end of the sport and challenge for top honours, having last November told the press that his previous experience should not be ignored.
"In the past I raced against giants of the sport such as Contador and Froome when he was at his best. Pogačar is really strong and so perhaps together we can have some fun…
"Of course, if I realise I'll never be back to my best, if I struggle and can’t be competitive, Id be happy to step down a level. But I consider that to be science fiction because I know I've got the legs to be up there with the best.”
The squad has already announced its eight-rider team for the Tour de France with Aru set to work for team leader Tadej Pogacar in the mountains. Gaviria will miss the race and instead focus on taking stage wins in the Giro d’Italia but team director Neil Stephens isn’t looking too far ahead at the moment.
“The guys are very excited and keen to get back racing. It’s been a long time coming but the whole team has prepared well during the time at home and we are expecting good things in Burgos,” he said.
“It’s going to be a bit different than normal racing and safety of the riders, staff and the wider public is going to be a big focus. The team is very balanced and we hope to feature in the action every day – both in the sprints and on the climbs.”
UAE Team Emirates for the Vuelta a Burgos: Fabio Aru, Camilo Ardila, David De la Cruz, Camilo Ardila, Fernando Gaviria, Max Richeze, and Cristian Muñoz.
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