FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Italian Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) will spend a couple weeks in Colorado before trying to win the Giro d’Italia this May.

Aru announced this week that he’ll return to the Giro d’Italia, where he placed second to Alberto Contador in 2015. He will begin his season in Mallorca on January 31, race in Algarve, Portugal, and Catalunya, Spain — and will then travel to the U.S.

“We are followed by coaches from the University of Colorado in Boulder, our head coach Iñigo San Millan has lived there for years,” Aru told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“And, coincidentally, I had my first race in the pros as a stagiaire: it was the Tour of Colorado in 2012, I arrived second in a stage” behind Rory Sutherland.

Several stars such as Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin and Sky’s Geraint Thomas travel to Sierra Nevada, Spain or Tenerife for the thin air and training roads. Some will even spend time in Sicily, on Mount Etna.

Instead, Aru will fly 12 hours to the U.S. to Colorado, where he’ll find plenty of good training roads and riding partners in and around Boulder.

“You stay in Boulder, and you always ride above 1,500 meters,” he said.

“You go up to the Independence Pass at 3,900 meters. Beautiful roads, good climate. Peter Sagan is very fond of this area.”

The change in plans follows a rocky 2018 season that saw Aru perform poorly. He abandoned the Giro d’Italia toward the end and rode the Vuelta a España below the radar.

He even pulled himself out of the running for Italy’s world championship team going to Innsbruck.

Aru admitted that he tried to do too much at times and made errors.

The team has pledged its “full confidence” in Aru, however. In doing so — for Aru and for incoming stars like Fernando Gaviria — the squad has continued to beef up its roster.

UAE Team Emirates made several changes over the winter. Spaniard Joxean Fernández now manages the team. Australians Neil Stephens and Allan Peiper arrived as sport directors. The University of Cape Town in South Africa and the University of Colorado took over the coaching.

“I’m getting along very well with the new staff, doctors and coaches. I like that the human aspect, serenity, is taken into consideration, even before preparation and performance,” Aru continued.

“Being well, having balance, spending even a few more days at home, in the family: this counts.

“Too many times we talk about numbers, we think too much about the tests and watts, but to reach these numbers you have to feel good and be calm. And now I feel good.”

Aru now has his schedule planned through the Giro d’Italia. One variable: he may race Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Afterward, he will decide whether or not to line up at the Tour de France in July.