Giro d'Italia

At team camp, Aru builds toward 2015 Giro

The 24-year-old from Sardinia will ride to win the Giro d'Italia in May

MILAN (VN) — Italy’s rising grand tour star Fabio Aru is meeting this week with his Astana teammates in Tuscany and building toward the Giro d’Italia.

“The reality,” he told Tutto Bici, “is that I’ve been building for the 2015 season since I finished the Giro di Lombardia on October 5.”

The 2015 season could be huge for the 5-foot-11, 143-pound Aru based on this season’s results. In only his second full year as a professional cyclist, he won the mountain stage to Montecampione and placed third overall in the Giro d’Italia behind Colombians Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

The 24-year-old comes from southwest Sardinia, one of the most inconvenient places for a budding cyclist. Tour de France winner and Astana teammate Vincenzo Nibali also happens to come from Italy’s other major island, Sicily. Like Nibali, Aru had to move to the mainland in order to pursue his career.

Aru moved to Bergamo as an amateur, won the Giro della Valle d’Aosta in 2011 and 2012, and finished second in the 2012 Baby Giro behind American Joe Dombrowski. With the 2014 Giro, though, he confirmed his arrival to Italian cycling.

Aru used this summer’s Vuelta a España to spread his name. He won two mountain stages, one in front of Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and one ahead of Briton and 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky).

“2014 was fundamental for my career,” Aru continued. “I had some new experiences, riding in the Vuelta and the worlds, that will help me quite a bit as a cyclist. Clearly, though, I’m very happy with the results I achieved in the Giro and Vuelta.”

This week, Astana will likely talk about the four recent doping cases within the team. News that the fourth cyclist, Victor Okishev from the Astana’s feeder team, tested positive arrived last week.

The team in turquoise will also talk about where it will send its men to race in 2015. Aru is slated to race the Giro and return to help Nibali in the Tour or the Vuelta.

“The responsibility does not scare me, rather it’s pleasing to have it because it means that the team believes in me,” Aru added.

“I like the Giro course for 2015. It’s hard and has more climbing meters than in 2014. The 60-kilometer time trial does not scare me and we are planning specific training to get the best result.

“The most important days of the Giro? For sure, it’s going to be the time trial and the Sestriere and Mortirolo stages.”

The 59.2km time trial, the longest race against the clock in six years, could entice Froome to race the Giro along with Aru and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) instead of the Tour. Nibali and Quintana have their eyes on the Tour.

The Giro d’Italia will also feature seven mountain stages. Four are in the high mountains and they are all summit finishes: Madonna di Campiglio, Aprica, Cervinia, and Sestriere.