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Fabio Aru to ride for Qhubeka-Assos in 2021

Aru hoping move to new squad will act as step back to former grand tour glory.

Sardinian climber Fabio Aru is the latest rider to join Team Qhubeka-Assos.

Aru, 30, will join the team in 2021 on a one-year deal having seen his three-year spell with UAE-Team Emirates come to a close.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Team Qhubeka-Assos next season and very grateful to Douglas Ryder who welcomed me to his team,” Aru said. “When the possibility to sign first came about, and then after speaking with Douglas and other team members, I immediately felt that this was an environment that I wanted to be a part of.”

Aru had previously been linked to a number of other teams during the transfer window, with reports stating that he sought a return to former squad Astana-Premier Tech only to be turned away.

Qhubeka-Assos has been active in scooping up riders since it was confirmed that Assos is coming aboard as co-sponsor, saving the team from possible closure. Only Wednesday, the team confirmed the signing of Harry Tanfield, Connor Brown, and Emil Vinjebo. Former EF Pro Cycling pair Simon Clarke and Sean Bennett were also added to the roster in the preceding weeks.

Before the arrival of Assos, the team’s roster was a revolving door of outbound riders in the past months, with top names including Edvald Boasson Hagen, Michael Valgren, Ben King, Ben O’Connor, Romain Kreuziger, and Louis Meintjes all moving on.

As a former winner of the Vuelta a España, Aru will add experience and a GC option at the team alongside Italian veteran Domenico Pozzovivo.

“I am excited to have Fabio join our team; to have a rider who has won a grand tour in the Vuelta, been fifth in the Tour de France and twice on the podium of the Giro adds a lot to our team’s development as we continue to strive to win on the world’s biggest stage; to inspire hope and create opportunity,” said team principal Doug Ryder.

While Aru makes for a headline name at the team, the Sardinian has much to prove after several fallow seasons blighted by illness and injury.

Aru, whose last win came with a stage in the 2017 Tour, is confident he can return to his former best as he looks to turns a page on his career.

“In the last few years I haven’t experienced all of the success that I’d hoped for and so I will use this new step to draw from some of the simple factors that saw me achieve those results, as I know that I’m capable again of similar success,” he said.

“At this point in my career, Team Qhubeka-Assos is the perfect place for me to do so and I’m very grateful for the opportunity that they’ve provided me with to contribute to their legacy and to build on that fantastic work that they’ve done in the past.”