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by Shane Stokes
February 20, 2018
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Speculation about whether or not Fabio Aru will target the Giro d’Italia, as was originally envisaged, or concentrate on the Tour de France has been ended by the announcement that he will indeed ride the Italian event
“I really wanted to mull over this important decision, and I’ve had many constructive conversations with the team,” said the Italian road race champion on Monday. “The decision to participate in the Giro d’Italia was made with conviction, after careful consideration of many variables.”
Aru, Alexander Kristoff, Rui Costa, Diego Ulissi, Sven Erik Bystrom, Roberto Ferrari and Manuele Mori will all ride this week’s Abu Dhabi Tour, which begins on Wednesday. On Monday they all went to the headquarters of Emirate Airlines, the team’s main sponsor. They met the company’s top management, did a photo session and also signed autographs.
Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates’ Senior Vice President Commercial Operations for Gulf, Middle East and Iran, explained the company’s backing. “We believe that through our support of UAE Team Emirates we bring the UAE closer to the world stage of cycling,” he said. “Emirates aims to create more meaningful connections with cycling fans here in our home market and around the world, and we hope that our national team will inspire continued development of the sport in the UAE.”
He, the team and Aru are aware that a strong ride in the Giro would do much to give the company publicity. Aru said that he wants to perform as well as possible in the race. “I’m happy to get back to the roads of the Giro; for an Italian athlete it is always a race that offers a special thrill,” he stated. “Furthermore, this year I will be participating with the Italian National Champion’s jersey, which is one more reason to pay maximum homage to the Corsa Rosa.”