Before the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine, Fabio Aru hadn’t raced since recording a DNF at Tirreno-Adriatico due to illness. A knee injury forced the Astana rider out of the Giro d’Italia and forced him into changing his season objective to the Tour de France. Having safely negotiated the firs three stages of the WorldTour stage race, the stage 4 time trial was always going to be a test of his current form and condition.
Despite not having raced a time trial since stage 18 of last year’s Tour when he was third on the day, Aru put in a solid ride to finish 1:18 minutes down on Richie Porte (BMC) and move into the top-20 on GC. With a mountainous finale, Aru will be aiming to continue his upward movement on the GC before making his second appearance at the Tour with Astana.
“After more than three months without racing and with the last individual time trial did at last year Tour, I can say I think I did a good performance,” said Aru of his 27th place ride. “I had good sensations for the entire TT and I will continue to race this Dauphiné thinking and focusing day by day, let’s see what will come up!”
Astana’s other GC man, Jakob Fuglsang, was one second slower than Aru in 28th place and the Dane now also trails his teammate by one position in 20th place.
“It was a difficult TT, tough in the climb and very fast in the descent. Obviously I did my best and I have to say I have had good sensations from my legs,” said Fuglsang. “Of course, looking at the classification, I hoped not to lose all those seconds but I’m confident we will be able to perform pretty well in the days to come.”
Astana’s bid for a high overall position has been strengthened with its two GC men putting in solid performances and informing team staff they are on track for next month’s Tour de France.
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