The 2017 Vuelta a España just got better.
Astana confirmed Tuesday that Fabio Aru will line up for the Spanish grand tour later this month.
Aru, who won his first and only grand tour at the 2015 Vuelta, is the latest big name confirmed for the 72nd edition of the Vuelta. Notably, he’ll face off with this year’s Tour winner Chris Froome (Sky).
“After the good performance at the Tour de France,” an Astana press release stated, “Aru will return to race at the Vuelta.”
Team officials also confirmed Aru will be the team’s GC leader. Miguel Angel Lopez, Luis Leon Sánchez, and Pello Bilbao were confirmed as helpers.
With the Vuelta start, Aru’s 2017 continues to evolve. Initially, he was supposed to target the 100th Giro d’Italia, but injury sidelined him. That opened the door for the Tour, where he wore the yellow jersey and finished a career-best fifth overall.
There still is no official confirmation if Aru will stay with Astana, or leave as suggested by cycling media reports.
Aru joins four-time Tour winner Froome, 2010 Vuelta winner Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Esteban Chaves and the Yates brothers (Orica-Scott), and Marc Soler (Movistar) as starters.
Others who are likely to start include three-time Vuelta champion Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Tejay van Garderen and Samuel Sánchez (BMC Racing), as well as George Bennett and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo).
The Vuelta begins August 19 in Nimes, France and concludes in Madrid on September 10.