Vincenzo Nibali to ride Giro d'Italia in 2016 while Fabio Aru targets Tour de France

Vincenzo Nibali will return to the Giro d'Italia for the first time since winning it in 2013 and Fabio Aru will start his first Tour de France

Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Vuelta a España winner Fabio Aru will be given his first shot at the Tour de France in 2016, with Astana boss Alexandre Vinokourov confirming his key riders' targets for next season.

Vincenzo Nibali will aim for glory in the Giro d'Italia on a course that suits his strengths more than perhaps those of Aru, while the younger Italian will lead the Kazakh squad in July.

Nibali won the Giro d'Italia in 2013 but has not returned to the race since, instead focusing his season on the Tour de France - winning it in 2014. Aru, meanwhile, has ridden the Giro and Vuelta in both the last two seasons, finishing in the top five each time.

“Without doubt, I am certain that Nibali and Aru will have two different programmes,” Vinokourov told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Vincenzo feels a lot towards the Giro, he wants to return. Aru is 25 and he has progressed extraordinarily: in two seasons he has been third, fifth, second and first in the Grand Tours that he’s ridden - there is nobody like him in the world.

“In two or three years he can win the Tour and I would like to test him immediately. They are two great leaders that have won a lot, it is right that everyone has their own objective.”

>>> Giro d’Italia 2016 route officially revealed

Vinokourov also suggested that Nibali could ride alongside Aru at the Tour de France in preparation for the Olympic Games road race in Rio next August. Aru could also feature in the Italian team, but Vinokourov insists it will depend on how he comes through the Tour.

Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana have already stated their desire to win both the Tour and Olympics next year, so any challengers will have their work cut out.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.