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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 (TeamQhubeka.com) 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.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Team Qhubeka ASSOS.
Jean Smyth (Head of Communications)
Mobile: +27 63 4701 1710 or +31 625 739 033
About Team Qhubeka ASSOS:
Team Qhubeka ASSOS is a purpose-led, high-performance team, fighting to win on the world's biggest stage, to inspire hope and create opportunity. Founded in 2007, Team Qhubeka ASSOS (formerly NTT Pro Cycling) became the first-ever African cycling team to gain a UCI WorldTour license, in 2016.
We achieved our first major win in 2013 when Gerald Ciolek won Milan-San Remo, one of the five Monuments of cycling. We have competed in six Tour de France’s and notched up 7 stage wins, with Mark Cavendish wearing the coveted Yellow Jersey at the 2016 Tour de France.
We are a multicultural, diverse team with bases in South Africa, the Netherlands and Italy. There are 19 nationalities represented across our World Tour and continental feeder team rosters. Our focus on developing African cycling has resulted in more than 55 riders from the African continent be given the opportunity to race on the world stage, since the team's inception.
We race to help people to move forward with bicycles through our relationship with Qhubeka Charity. Through our work with Qhubeka, we have contributed to the distribution of over 30 000 bicycles in communities in South Africa.
Qhubeka (Qhubeka.org) is a charity that moves people forward with bicycles. People earn bicycles through our programmes, improving their access to schools, clinics and jobs.
A bicycle is a tool that helps people to travel faster and further, and to carry more. In the face of extreme and persistent poverty, bicycles can change lives by helping to address socioeconomic challenges at the most basic level – helping people to get where they need to go.
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