The Italian has struggled with his condition this season and has taken the decision not to race in Austria

Fabio Aru has taken the decision not to ride the 2018 World Championships road race after struggling with his form this season.

The Italian confirmed he had reluctantly given up his place on the national team ahead of the elite men’s road race on Sunday.

Aru has struggled with his form this season, putting in a poor performance at the Giro d’Italia due to allergies and then not being selected for the Tour de France.

>>>UCI Road World Championships 2018: dates, route, where to watch and more

The UAE Team Emirates rider said: “In recent week and in recent races I have tried to do my best to give meaningful signals, in view of the Worlds.

“Unfortunately, my condition is not the one I would like to have.

“Reluctantly, after consulting with [Italian team manager] Davide Cassani, I made the decision to renounce the call of the Italian national team..

“It is a painful choice, but is based on my love and respect for the Italian jersey.”

Aru finished in 23rd place at the Vuelta a España, more than an hour down on British winner Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).

The Italian is the latest favourite to pull out of the World Championship road race, after Australian leader Richie Porte also announced he would not be riding.

Aru said: “I think it is right to leave room for those who, at this moment, can count on a better condition.

“I wish the best to my colleagues who will try to keep the colours of the Italian flag high on the Innsbruck race route.”

This year’s World Championships will see the elite men tackle 5,000m of climbing over the 258.5km course.

The men’s race will start in the town of Kufstein and begin with seven circuits of 24km of the ‘Olympic Circuit’ before heading northwards towards the Hungerburg settlement in the north where they’ll hit a climb featuring 25 per cent sections.

The men’s peloton will then head back towards the centre of Innsbruck where the race will conclude.