The Italian struggled to fin his top form this season, and he's closing out the year at the Tour of Guangxi.

BEIHAI, China (VN) — Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) is hitting the reset button after a “difficult 2018 season” due to poor health and crashes.

The Sardinian closes out his season in the Tour of Guangxi this week. It is his first visit to China, perfect for restarting 2019 on the right foot.

“It’s important. I’ll tell you the truth and it might seem mad, but even though it’s been a difficult season, the desire to race is still there, so I’m happy to be here,” Aru said.

He arrived in Beihai in China’s south just hours beforehand, departing after racing Italy’s Il Lombardia on Saturday.

“I haven’t come here without the desire to ride. Of course my condition isn’t the best, and it hasn’t been the best in recent weeks, not even at Lombardia,” Aru added. “But from a physical point of view it was important for me to finish with another race, to have this new experience, which could be useful for the future.”

Aru will not just cruise through the six stages from Beihai north to Guilin, but keep his body in good shape with eyes toward the horizon.

“I don’t have a lot of personal objectives here because physically I haven’t been very good all season, or in the last few weeks,” Aru explained.

“I had to pull out of the worlds, and if I was going well, I certainly would never have done that. The important thing is to continue to try to understand how I am, to see if I’m a bit better.

“I’ll also be thinking of next season, so it’s important to finish this year well here. We’ll see what happens.”

The Italian began the Giro d’Italia in May as a favorite but never found the form that saw him place second in 2015 Giro or win the 2015 Vuelta a España. He abandoned in the third week and skipped the Tour de France.

He said after the Giro that he struggles to absorb pasta and carbohydrates well. Medical tests helped him understand that he should limit their intake and avoid dairy products.

“Something was missing all year. I was always a step behind the strongest riders. All year long, I never managed to get into my very top condition. Unfortunately, that’s sport these days, it doesn’t allow you to be at 95 percent. When you’re missing even a little bit, you’ll struggle to get results, especially a stage race rider of my characteristics,” Aru said.

“Certainly some errors were committed, and sometimes I probably tried to do much, to do things at all costs, and that causes you to make errors.

“The results I had this year were not up to my level, given what I’ve always shown and what I want out of a season. So for sure, I’m not content and for that reason.”

Aru returned to the Vuelta in August hoping for results and to build form for the world championship road race. He never found it. He crashed twice and sparked a media storm when he cursed his bike and team sponsor Colnago.

The race did not help his condition so much, and he pulled his name out of the running for a spot on Team Italy in the worlds. Instead, he asked to race the series of one-day races over the last week in Italy. Now, he is in China to end 2018.

A reset is needed. Afterward, Aru wants consistency and a chance at victory in 2019 for himself and UAE Team Emirates.

“I can’t wait to make a reset, but it’s a reset that is made with the desire to restart strongly not because you are completely dead, also in the head. Physically, I wasn’t good, but my mind wasn’t gone,” he continued.

“I’ll rest, but the first training camp will be soon with the team, we are going to plan out the year so that I don’t make any errors like maybe that were made. It’s bad, but you have to learn from your mistakes to not repeat them and go well.”