Nationality: Italian Date of birth: July 3, 1990 Height: 181cm Weight: 61.5kg Team: UAE Team Emirates
Having signed for the Astana team in 2012, Fabio Aru has steadily established himself as Grand Tour contender, making his breakthrough ride in the 2014 Giro d’Italia where he won a stage and finished third overall.
In 2015, Aru went one better in the Giro and won two stages and placed second overall behind the far more established Grand Tour star Alberto Contador, just one minute and 53 seconds behind.
The following year he gained only a single victory, with a stage win at the Critérium du Dauphiné. After a strong early performance in that years tour, he suffered an illness on the final mountain stage and lost 13 minutes to his rivals, finishing 13th overall.
He returned in time for the Critérium du Dauphiné, taking fifth place, 1-37 back on his team mate Jakob Fuglsang.
He drew attention at the 2017 Tour de France when he attacked on the summit finish to La Planche des Belles Filles, on stage five. This led to a stage win, and left the prime GC contenders facing havoc in his wake as their group splintered to give way to the first major gaps in the overall. Here, Aru moved into second place behind Chris Froome (Team Sky).
Stage 18 saw Aru’s chances of becoming the Tour de France champ all but diminish after dropping down to fifth and losing more time on his rivals. He was never able to claw back the difference, eventually rolling into Paris in fifth on the GC, behind Team Sky’s Mikel Landa.
After six seasons with Astana, he transitioned to UAE Team Emirates for 2018. The repeating pattern of under-performing at Grand Tours continued into 2018, eventually withdrawing on stage 19 of the Giro after suffering from fatigue. Similar troubles occurred at the Vuelta, eventually finishing well behind eventual winner Simon Yates.
Aru suffered even more difficulty in 2019 when he was diagnosed with a constriction of the iliac artery. This forced him off the bike for several months. His comeback in June revealed his lost form, finishing 22nd at the Gran Premio di Lugano. He failed to gain a top ten position on any stage at the Tour de France and finished 14th overall.
Aru’s strength lies as a climber, where his bobbing riding style and trademark face-pulling may look untidy but is evidently effective. Only time will tell whether the Italian is able to overcome his difficulties and win a Grand Tour.