Road

Fabio Aru’s 2020 goal ‘to return to compete with the strongest’

Aru yet to set schedule for the year, but ready to prove he's back to winning ways.

Fabio Aru is ready to get back to winning after a turbulent few seasons.

The Sardinian’s career has hit a rocky road having reached a high with victory at the 2015 Vuelta a España. The following years have seen Aru navigating through persistent injury, wavering form, illness-stricken grand tours, and the emergence of UAE-Team Emirates teammate Tadej Pogacar as cycling’s next big thing.

And then, just when Aru felt that the legs were coming back, placing 12th at the Tour Colombia earlier this year, coronavirus shut down the season. But that’s not dampened the 29-year-old’s fire one bit.

“If we can compete again, I will be ready to show what I am worth,” Aru said Friday.

While his schedule for the year is still to be confirmed, Aru knows the main objective for his season, saying “I don’t have a particular goal, but to return to compete with the strongest, to give emotions to my fans and maybe go back to winning.”

With his contract with UAE-Team Emirates due to expire at the end of the year, it’s a case of now-or-never for Aru. However, with his nagging iliac artery troubles seemingly now behind him, he is confident 2020 will be the year he can show his worth again.

“In the last two seasons I’ve been struggling, especially physically, and I’ve overcome a lot of problems… I’m fine now, my left leg is also pushing normally. It took a long time to have the right sensations,” Aru told Sky Sport.

Aru has been testing his legs through lockdown by racing online with countrymen Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), Alberto Bettiol (EF Pro Cycling) and teammate Diego Ulissi, calling virtual competition “a great stimulus for me.”

The use of indoor trainers and advanced training techniques leads Aru to think the playing field should be level when the peloton returns to action. For now, Aru’s main concern is deciding which races he will start in what could be a make-or-break year for his career. At the start of the season, the Tour de France and Olympic Games were the main objectives, but with the Olympics postponed and the Tour clashing with his home race, Aru is now chewing over his options.

“It will be difficult to do two grand tours,” he said. “Maybe the Tour and the Vuelta because there is still time between them. But if you go to the Tour, you can forget the Giro.”