Italian rider hopes Froome will add to race's prestige

Fabio Aru has challenged Chris Froome to focus his attention on the Giro d’Italia in 2018, although the Italian rider himself is yet to fully commit to the same move.

In an interview with Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport, Aru said that he would like to see Froome race the Giro for only the third time in his career, thinking that it would help to raise the profile of the race.

“I’ve heard that he is thinking about it [riding the Giro]”, said the Italian, who will be riding for UAE Team Emirates in 2018 after six years at Astana. “Froome is a great champion and really tough I’m hoping that he will be at the Giro, that will make the race even more prestigious. I like big showdowns.”

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However despite calling on Froome to ride the Giro, Aru said that he is not 100 per cent sure that he will be on the start line in Jerusalem on May 4, only having planned the first part of his 2018 season, although he is expected to be at the race.

“If I’ll be at the Giro, I can’t be sure… I’ll definitely be at the Abu Dhabi Tour but I don’t know if that will be my first race of the season,” he continued.


Watch: Tour de France 2018 route guide


Aru also said that he will be riding Tirreno-Adriatico, as well as the Tour of the Alps and the Vuelta a España as he focuses on a string of mountainous stage races to prepare for a lumpy World Championships road race course in Innsbruck at the end of the year.

The Giro d’Italia 2018 route will be announced on November 29, with the race expected to feature at least one further time trial in addition to the one on opening day, something that race organisers RCS Sport hope will attract Chris Froome to the race.

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Despite being just one Tour de France win away from matching the likes of Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault on a record five Tour victories, rumours have persisted in recent months that Froome could return to the Giro in 2018, especially with an unusual Tour de France route featuring minimal time trialling, cobbles, and gravel roads.

Froome won the 2017 edition of the Tour after spending most of the second half of the race in the yellow jersey. Fabio Aru was the only rider from outside Team Sky to wear the yellow jersey during the race, but faded during the final week to finish in fifth overall.