The 2015 Vuelta a España champion fell on the roads in Sierra Nevada, Spain, at an altitude camp nine days ago. He posted on Twitter a photo of his swollen left knee on Saturday and his Astana team shortly after released details of the incident. They said an MRI confirmed no fractures.
However, he spent a couple of days off the bike and now doctors recommend that he passes another 10 days off to recover. He and the team said it is too much and were forced to cancel their plans to try and win the 2017 Giro d’Italia.
“I’m so sorry and disappointed for what happened,” he said. “I was dreaming of the Giro Start from my Sardinia and we were preparing the Giro for months.
“Unfortunately, the accident occurred, and doesn’t allow me to be at the start in sufficient conditions and albeit with great regret, we are forced to give up.”
After finishing already second and third overall in the Giro, and winning the Vuelta, he was one in a long list of favourites starting this year’s Giro. The race is celebrating its 100th edition with the start in Sardinia and two stages in Sicily before racing up the boot of Italy.
His season began well when he raced to second place in the Tour of Oman’s summit finish stage. He also raced well in the Abu Dhabi Tour in February. He had to pull out of Tirreno-Adriatico midway through after falling sick. As a result, he began his altitude training camp slightly early, but there in Spain everything fell apart.
Aru also must forfeit the Tour of the Alps and Tour de Romandie. His next appointment with the doctor is on April 20.
It is unclear where Aru will aim next. Jakob Fuglsang is due to lead the Tour de France, but Aru could join him.
In the Giro, the team could allow 2011 winner Michele Scarponi to lead or perhaps young Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez.
Aru’s absence from the Giro start list shortens the number of GC contenders taking part. His former Astana team-mate and defending Giro champion Vincenzo Nibali will headline new team Bahrain-Merida. He will come up against 2014 Giro winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and British brothers Simon and Adam Yates (Orica-Scott).