Fabio Aru: “I’m smiling on the bike”

Team Qhubeka ASSOS’ Fabio Aru says that he’s thoroughly enjoying his steady return to form and enjoying racing with a smile on his face.

The 30-year-old former Vuelta a España champion finds himself on a short racing break following his recent participation at the Tour of the Basque Country.

“I’ve now done 23 race days and also some cyclo-cross racing at the start of the year and I’m just really happy to be part of this Qhubeka ASSOS family,” said Aru. “It’s a really good team and I enjoy every moment that I spend with my teammates and all of the staff. The feeling is really, really good.”

Earlier Aru ruled himself out of possible selection for the World Cyclo-cross Championships to focus on the team’s final pre-season training camp in January.

“My season started at Tour de la Provence, then Haut Var, Royal Bernard Drôme Classic, Paris-Nice and the Basque Country; and so my next races will be Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

“Riding the Giro this year was not on my programme so I look forward to watching this beautiful race and of course supporting my Team Qhubeka ASSOS teammates,” said Aru.

The former Italian champion is relishing the return to consistent racing following a few disrupted years.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every single race that I’ve done right from the start of the season and I know that I’m still building my form because in the last two years I’ve had a number of problems.

“In 2019 I had surgery which meant I had to stop for three months, then I was back for some races and I stopped after 10 days of the Vuelta a Espana. Last year I did Colombia and some races in August but then I stopped again after a week of the Tour and I did little more 20 race days; for a pro that’s not a lot and so I’m still building my condition.

“Every single race that I’ve done from February, including the cyclo-cross, is with the aim of getting me back up to that good level. I’m still not 100% yet but I’m still progressing, and for that I’m really happy.

“In terms of my next goals for myself and the team: well I’m really happy with our strategy as we are taking it race by race, assessing how I’m progressing and feeling, and then establishing those goals together. The main one is to be 100%, and at a good level of racing. At the Basque Country, for instance, I had 20 riders top riders in front of me but know that I’m still progressing and for that I am happy; the body is improving race by race and for that I’m smiling on the bike and enjoying every moment of it.

“Qhubeka ASSOS is not only a team but a family, every single person here is working for one another as well as for the Qhubeka Charity and our partners. For instance, to see the recently released Qhubeka supporters jersey just highlights again what our purpose is – it’s incredible – and so I want to give my best for my team and teammates.

“I want to say thanks to every member of the team, who believes in me every single day and this is a really big pleasure for me to be part of this team, part of this family,” said Aru.