Fabio Aru achieves the impossible to take Vuelta a España to the wire

The Vuelta could barely be closer after Astana leader stays within touch of Tom Dumoulin after a time trial performance that few thought he had in him

Fabio Aru Achieves The Impossible To Take Vuelta A España To The Wire

Fabio Aru (Astana) puts in an extraordinary performance on stage 17 of the 2015 Vuelta a Espa a (Sunada)

The smiles at the Astana1 team bus were as wide as if they had won the stage today in the Vuelta a Espa a2. Team leader Fabio Aru3 warmed down on his bike, grinning between sips from his water bottle, after he rode the time trial of his life at Burgos to keep this pulsating Grand Tour in the balance. Around him, the team said again and again, Tre secondi three seconds . Aru had achieved what most thought had thought was impossible he had stayed within touching distance of time trial specialist Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin4), and this race was still very much alive with only four stages to go.

As predicted, Dumoulin won the stage5 and overtook both Aru and this morning s leader, Joaqu m Rodr guez (Katusha6). Surprisingly, however, his lead over Aru stands at just three seconds.

Watch Cycling Weekly s guide to the 2015 Vuelta

Aru finished 10th on the 38.7-kilometre stage at 1-53 minutes, enough to keep dreaming of the Vuelta overall title when the three-week tour ends in Madrid on Sunday.

I m happy with the ride. I can t be completely happy because I m never happy when I m not in the lead, but it s not bad, Aru said. He looked down at his bike to his right and briefly ahead when answering. When he did, his grin was visible.

When I finished and I saw was in second, I felt it was a good time trial. At three seconds is not bad at all.

Aru won some of the biggest amateur stage races before turning professional, including the Giro della Valle d Aosta twice. As a pro, he progressed to place third in the Giro d Italia last year7 and second this May to Alberto Contador8. His time trial abilities were always lacking, however. So much so, the team sent him to California this winter to work on his time trailing in a wind tunnel with bike sponsor Specialized.

I worked a lot on my time trialling, he added. What I did at the Giro9 3-01 behind winner Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) is not a good comparison because I was feeling bad in the days beforehand.

At the Tour of Poland, I rode a good time trial10. I m not a time trial rider, but I need to be able to save myself in them.

I ve been working on it.

Fabio Aru Achieves The Impossible To Take Vuelta A España To The Wire

Tom Dumoulin rides his way into the red jersey (Sunada)

Aru comes across as shy even in good moments. He tried to end the conversation early twice, succeeding on the second time and escaping to the safety of Astana s turquoise bus. The two big days ahead, tomorrow and Saturday, both include climbs to 1750-1800 metres before a descent to the finish.

In theory, to win the Vuelta, Aru only needs to drop less gifted climber Dumoulin11 and hold any advantage on the descent to the finish line.

That makes it sound so easy, he said getting off his bike and heading to the door of the bus but today s performance proves Aru s determination to win a race that is now too close to call.


  1. ^ Astana (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Vuelta a Espa a (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ Fabio Aru (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ Giant-Alpecin (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Tom Dumoulin takes race lead after stunning Vuelta a Espa a time trial win (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ Katusha (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Nairo Quintana wins 2014 Giro d Italia (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ Alberto Contador wins the 2015 Giro d Italia, as Iljo Keisse takes final stage in surprise breakaway (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ Alberto Contador back in Giro d Italia lead after crucial time trial (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ Marcin Bialoblocki wins Tour of Poland time trial as Ion Izagirre takes overall (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  11. ^ Dumoulin plays down lead as Vuelta heads for spectacular climax (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

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