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Dan Martin to support Fabio Aru at Vuelta a Espana

Joe Robinson
21 Aug 2018

Irishman looking to double up on Tour by supporting Aru as he continues return from Giro woes

Dan Martin has been announced as part of UAE Team Emirates's Vuelta a Espana line-up, as the Irishman looks to co-lead the team alongside a returning Fabio Aru. Although Aru is likely to enter the race harbouring the General Classification ambitions, Martin will act as a suitable Plan B while also chasing stage success.

Martin will be looking to build on a mixed summer of racing at the Tour de France in which he eventually finished eighth overall.

An impressive Stage 6 victory atop the Mur de Bretagne got Martin's race off to a flying start yet this was quickly scuppered by a crash two days later, which saw him lose over a minute to his General Classification rivals.

A strong last week in the mountains eventually helped Martin claw back some time, with the 32-year-old eventually finishing in the top 10 although he was nine minutes adrift of eventual winner Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). 

With plenty of punchy, uphill finishes, Martin will no doubt will have his eye set on multiple stages over the three weeks as he looks to add to his solitary Vuelta stage victory taken in 2011.

This could come as soon as Stage 4's summit finish on the Sierra de la Alfaguara while Stage 13 to Alto de La Camperona and Stage 14 to Praeres de Nava also suit the Irishman.

Beyond his own goals, Martin will be expected to assist Aru as the Italian aims to repeat his 2015 Vuelta success and bury the demons of his 2018 season so far.

The Sicilian entered the Giro d'Italia in May as one of the favourites for the title but quickly found himself slipping away from overall contention before throwing in the towel on Stage 19 to Bardonecchia.

Retrospectively, the 28-year-old cited an extended altitude camp and gluten and dairy intolerance for his inability to fight for pink.

After an extended period off the bike, Aru returned to racing at the Tour de Wallonie and Tour of Pologne in July this month, unable to claim any results of note at either.

Regardless, Aru will use the upcoming Vuelta as an opportunity to repay the team's support in his difficult period as he now aims for a second Grand Tour title.

'I really like the Vuelta for many reasons: the route, the climbs and especially the fans who have always shown great affection towards me,' Aru said.

'I approach it with great enthusiasm and a desire to do well, also to repay the affection and support shown to me by the team, the sponsors and the fans since the Giro d’Italia.

'I arrive from a first part of the season in which I did not get the results I was looking for, but from the defeats, you can learn important lessons and all this gives me great motivation.

'It will be a tactically open Vuelta, the nine summit finishes will lend themselves to attacks. And I must beware of short stages, they will have a big impact on the general classification.'

UAE-Team Emirates Vuelta a Espana 2018 line up

Fabio Aru (ITA)
Dan MArtin (IRL)
Valerio Conti (ITA)
Vegard Stake Laengen (NOR)
Sven Erik Bystrom (NOR)
Simone Consonni (ITA)
Simone Petilli (ITA)
Edward Ravasi (ITA)