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VN news ticker: Fabio Aru to retire after Vuelta a España; Miguel Ángel López extends with Movistar through 2023

Here's the news making the headlines on Thursday, August 12.

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Fabio Aru to retire after Vuelta a España

Italian rider Fabio Aru plans to retire following the 2021 Vuelta a España, his Qhubeka-NextHash team announced on Thursday. Aru, 31, wrote about his decision to walk away from the sport in a post on social media.

“Today, despite being here to communicate this important choice in my life, I can cry out loudly that I love cycling, I love cycling even more, I love training and I have no intention of leaving it in the garage,” Aru wrote. “But like all beginnings there is always an end.”

Aru’s professional career stretches back 10 years, and since then he’s bagged nine victories, including stages of the Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and Giro d’Italia.

Aru vaulted into the exclusive sphere of grand tour winners after he claimed the 2015 edition of the Vuelta a España with an aggressive series of attacks on the final mountain stage. The win made Aru a cycling celebrity in Italy and beyond, but in the following years he never reached the same heights. Aru struggled with injuries and form for much of 2016, and in 2017 he mounted a return to form at the Tour de France, where he won a stage and appeared posed to challenge Chris Froome for the overall, before finishing 5th overall.

In the ensuing seasons Aru struggled with inconsistency, and he changed teams from Astana to UAE-Team Emirates, and then to Qhubeka-NextHash for 2021.

“Reaching this decision has not been easy but it is something that I’ve been thinking about and discussing with my family for some time,” Aru said in a release.

“I’ve been racing my bike for 16 years and for more than a decade as a professional, but the time has come now to prioritize other things in my life, my family. During my career, as any bike rider will tell you, a significant time is spent away from home and for me this is now the right time to give back to them.

Miguel Ángel López extends with Movistar through 2023

Miguel Ángel López has extended his term with Movistar for an extra two years, keeping him at the team until at least the end of 2023. López switched to the Spanish squad for 2021 on a one-year deal and it would seem that both parties are happy with the partnership.

López is riding the Vuelta a España for the team as part of a line-up that features Alejandro Valverde and Enric Mas. The Colombian had a delayed start to the year following a COVID-19 diagnosis during the winter, but he got off to a strong start with victory at the Ruta del Sol and the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge.

He looked set to have a strong Tour de France campaign in July but dropped out in the final week after struggling with injuries.

“I’m so happy about this two-year extension. I’m really motivated for what’s coming up. Hoping I can get some important victories in this new term and hopefully fight for a victory in one of the Grand Tours, which has always been my big dream in cycling,” López said.

Israel Start-Up Nation names Vuelta a España squad

Israel Start-Up Nation is the final team to name its eight for the Vuelta a España later this week.

The WorldTour squad will go into the last grand tour of the season with stage victories in mind, with the likes of sprinters Davide Cimolai and Itamar Einhorn, and stage hunters Mads Wurtz Schmidt and Sep Vanmarcke. The line-up will be completed by James Piccoli, Sebastian Berwick, Alex Cataford, and Guy Niv.

Meanwhile, Chris Froome will not be racing as previously expected as the former Vuelta a España winner has not recovered from his appearance at the Tour de France, according to the team.

“Froome is not completely ready for another Grand Tour. With an alternative race plan, Chris will have a few more weeks to get ready for the rest of the season. He will race some shorter stage races,” team manager Kjell Carlstrom said.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.