With Fabio Aru out of contract with UAE Team Emirates at the end of the year, he is rumoured to be in talks to join Mathieu van der Poel’s Alpecin-Fenix outfit, which could see him relaunch his career by returning to his original discipline of cyclocross.
The Italian signed a lucrative three-year deal with the WorldTour team starting in the 2018 season, moving over from Astana, but failed to record a single win during his tenure with the squad, having been blighted by various injuries and ailments over the past few years.
“Aru has disappointed us. He has problems, including psychological ones. He doesn’t react [positively] to the first difficulties: he goes down, he doesn’t have that character. We need to assess who has decided to bring him to the Tour de France.”
In the end Aru’s poor Tour didn’t matter too much as Tadej Pogačar stormed to the general classification victory, but now the Italian will search for a new home to try and revamp his career.
This destination could be a move down from the WorldTour to the ProTeam ranks, although one of the highest-profile second-tier outfits in Alpecin-Fenix.
Italian cycling magazine Inbici reports that Mathieu van der Poel’s team is interested in picking up the 30-year-old for the 2021 season, and their plan would be to try and rejuvenate Aru by getting him to race cyclocross this winter, the discipline he raced as a youth rider.
Then, when the road season rolls around, Aru would become the team’s focus for stage races while the likes of Van der Poel, Tim Merlier and Dries De Bondt can focus on their preferred one-day Classics.
The hope would be to aid the team in accumulating points to rise up the UCI rankings, with the top ProTeam being given an automatic invite to all WorldTour events. There had apparently been talks that Alpecin-Fenix might acquire CCC’s WorldTour licence when they leave the sport at the end of the year, but that was snapped up by Circus-Wanty Gobert.
In other transfer news, Gazzetta dello Sport report that Astana’s Miguel Ángel López is said to be on his way to Movistar, the Kazakh team’s boss Alexander Vinokourov announcing in September that he couldn’t afford to keep him on their roster.
It had previously been reported that Ag2r La Mondiale were looking at signing the Colombian, the French team receiving a new influx of cash as they take on Citroën as a sponsor next year, but this now seems unlikely.
Ag2r La Mondiale have picked up Ben O’Connor, however, the Australian NTT rider impressing after taking a stage at this year’s Giro d’Italia.
UAE Team Emirates have already replenished their ranks with Rafal Majka, who’s moved over from Bora-Hansgrohe on a two-year deal with Wilco Kelderman heading to the German team from Sunweb, while Sep Vanmarcke swaps EF Pro Cycling for Israel Start-Up Nation.