Milan - Italian
Fabio Aru has been forced out of next month's Giro d'Italia, which
starts on his native island of Sardinia as part of celebrations for the
100th edition, his Astana team said on Monday.
Aru, who was set to challenge defending champion Vincenzo Nibali for
the pink jersey, crashed and hurt his knee while training in Spain last
He was diagnosed with an injury which "causes pain when he pedals",
according to a statement by Astana and had left him with little chance
of fully recovering in time for the May 5 start.
"As a consequence of his fall happened 8 days ago while training in
Spain... Fabio Aru was examined this afternoon in Milan by Professor
Franco Combi," said the statement.
"Aru will have to respect 10 days of total rest and therapy. On April
20 he will undergo further examination to assess the evolution of the
"Given the circumstances, Astana Pro Team has decided to announce
that, unfortunately, Fabio Aru will not participate to the Giro d'Italia
The loss of Aru is a major blow to race organisers RCS, who were
hedging on an Italian dual between him and fellow islander Nibali, who
hails from Sicily, over an epic three weeks.
Aru, the 2015 Tour of Spain champion who finished third in the 2014
edition of the Giro and second in 2015, said: "I'm so sorry and
disappointed for what's happened: I was dreaming of starting the Giro in
Sardinia, we've been preparing the race for months.
"Unfortunately, the accident happened and it means I can't be at the
start in sufficient condition. Albeit with great regret, we are forced
to give up."
Two-time winner Nibali, who won the Tour de France in 2014, is not
short of opponents, however, with Colombian climbing specialist Nairo
Quintana and several other podium hopefuls set to test his credentials
in the May 5-28 race.