Astana’s Fabio Aru has withdrawn from the Giro del Trentino, a four-day stage race set to begin Tuesday, due to a stomach virus.
The race was to be an important part of Aru’s Giro d’Italia preparation, and would have been a preview of the impending duel with Team Sky’s Richie Porte, another Giro d’Italia challenger. The three-week Italian stage race begins on May 9, less than three weeks away.
“To race a good Giro d’Italia I need to race a good Giro del Trentino, and I am disappointed to miss an appointment in April,” Aru said in a team statement.
“Fabio completed a solid training block with his teammates at altitude in Tenerife this month and has very good physical condition at the moment, but unfortunately he caught something after he returned home and was very ill over the weekend,” said Astana sport director Paolo Slongo.
Aru last raced at the Volta a Catalunya at the end of March. Astana said it will not fill his slot at Trentino. He is still scheduled to start this weekend’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day race, and could ride the Tour de Romandie as well, where he would line up next to Vincenzo Nibali.
“In order to make a good Giro d’Italia, taking the start tomorrow would have been ideal, and I am very disappointed to skip such an important race,” said Aru. “I have been training hard with my teammates for this race, and I will do my best to get back on form soon.”
“I will do my best to recover and work with the team directors to find a solution for some more racing ahead of May,” he said.
Aru was third overall and won two stages at the Giro d’Italia in 2014, and will enter the race as Astana’s undisputed leader this May. The thin climber will face challenges from Porte, Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale), and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), who is seeking the Giro/Tour de France double this year.