Aru unlikely to lead Astana at Tour de France


Astana have no plans to replace Tour de France leader Jakob Fuglsang with Fabio Aru, despite the Italian's calendar opening up after being ruled out of Giro d'Italia through injury.

Aru was forced to withdraw from the 100th edition of the Giro on Monday after damaging his knee in a training fall.

Astana's announcement was a huge blow for the race organisers given this year's event starts on Aru's home island of Sardinia on May 5.

It remains unclear how long the 26-year-old will remain sidelined with the injury, but Astana insist Fulsang will stay on as their Tour leader even if their number one rider returns in time for the July 1 start.

"Fabio has to pass the full treatment and recovery from his injury, so he won't be able to start in his home race," said team boss Alexander Vinokourov. 

"For all of us, his good and full recovery is [the main priority], while his further calendar will depend on the time of recovery and the results in the first races after it.

"Despite this unhappy situation, we don't talk about any great changes in our program. 

"We are looking forward to the Giro d'Italia with the team we have as well as to the Tour de France, where Jakob Fuglsang, like it was planned, is preparing to take a leading spot."

The experienced Michele Scarponi - who was awarded the 2011 Giro title after Alberto Contador was found guilty of doping - will lead Astana in 2017's first grand tour next month.