Aru to lead Astana at Tour de France

Updated: 

Fabio Aru will lead Astana at the Tour de France after the Kazakh team opted to give the Italian the role ahead of Jakob Fuglsang.

Aru was set to front the Astana squad at the Giro d'Italia in May with the opening stages of the Grand Tour taking place on his home island of Sardinia, but he injured his knee in a training fall.

Astana suggested in April that Aru would not go on to be their leader at the Tour, but confirmed on Tuesday that he will replace Fuglsang as the main man.

It will be Aru's second appearance in the race and he hopes to improve on the 13th place he achieved in the general classification in 2016.

"After last year, I have a lot of great memories from the Tour de France," he said. 

"I've got a very nice experience in this race. 

"I feel ready for the Tour and I will do my best to make happy all our fans around the world."

Aru is supported by Criterium du Dauphine winner Fuglsang, Alexey Lutsenko, Michael Valgren, Dario Cataldo, Andriy Grivko, Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev, Dmitriy Gruzdez and Andrey Zeits.