Aru steps down from Italian squad to leave room for those in better condition

MILAN, Italy (AFP) — Italian rider Fabio Aru announced Sunday he will not compete in the road race world championships in Austria next week.

“Reluctantly, after consulting with coach Davide Cassani, I’ve decided to waive the call-up to the Italian national team for the world championships in Innsbruck,” the 28-year-old said on his Facebook page.

“Unfortunately, my condition is not where I’d like it to be and, in all likelihood, would not allow me to honor my call-up,” added the former Vuelta a España winner, who crashed on the stage race earlier this month.

“It’s a difficult choice but I think it is right to leave room for those who can count on a better condition right now,” he said.

Aru had been selected on a provisional 12-man Italy team for the world championships from September 23 to 30.

Veteran Vincenzo Nibali — who has won all the Grand Tours including the Tour de France in 2014 — has been called up for the Italian team but has also been struggling for form.