Aru after winning the 2015 Vuelta.

Farewell Fabio Aru: Nine years, nine big wins, endless great faces

by Matt de Neef

As the 2021 Vuelta a España came to a close on Sunday, so too did the career of one Fabio Aru (Qhubeka-NextHash).

It’s been a tough few years for the 31-year-old former Italian champ. His career peaked between 2014 and 2017, with overall victory at the 2015 Vuelta and stage wins at all three Grand Tours. And while he has shown occasional flashes of brilliance since those golden years, he hasn’t quite reached the same heights as he did during that four-year period.

Aru’s 2021 has been his best season for several years, with second overall at both the Sibiu Cycling Tour in July and the Vuelta a Burgos in August. At the Vuelta, Aru was around the mark until stage 10 when a stomach bug derailed his plans. He was on the verge of abandoning but pushed through to finish the race in 51st overall.

As Aru rides off into the sunset we wanted to pay tribute to one of the sport’s great animators. For years Aru entertained us, not just with his explosive, emotion-fuelled attacks in the mountains, but with some of the most expressive facial contortions we’ve seen in pro cycling. There’s a reason the Faces of Aru Instagram page attracted something of a cult following.

The following gallery features both highlights from Aru’s career, and a selection of some of the many wonderful facial expressions he’s entertained us with over the years. From all of us to you, Fabio: thank you for all the entertainment, congratulations on a great career, and all the best for whatever comes next.

Aru’s professional victories

– 2014 Giro d’Italia, stage 15
– 2014 Vuelta a España, stage 11
– 2014 Vuelta a España, stage 18

– 2015 Giro d’Italia, stage 19
– 2015 Giro d’Italia, stage 20
– 2015 Vuelta a España, overall

– 2016 Criterium du Dauphine, stage 3

– 2017 Italian Nationals Road Race
– 2017 Tour de France, stage 5

Aru’s team history

2012: Stagiare with Astana
2013-2017: Astana
2018-2020: UAE Team Emirates
2021: Qhubeka NextHash

Editors' Picks