UAE Team Emirates' Fabio Aru will now miss the upcoming Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, as well as May's Giro d'Italia, in order to have an operation on a constriction of the iliac artery in his left leg, his team has reported.
Aru was due to return to racing at next week's Spanish stage race having abandoned Paris-Nice in early March, but could now be away from racing for a number of months, until at least this summer.
The winner of the 2015 Vuelta a España's last victory came at La Planche des Belles Filles on stage 5 of the Tour de France in 2017, with the 28-year-old having since struggled to perform at the level he's used to.
Aru's iliac artery problem has meant that he has lacked "an adequate blood supply when trying to make a maximum effort. This problem, and resulting drop in power, during the Sardinian's most intense efforts [has] limited his performances", said a team statement released on Sunday morning.
"It is a feeling that I feel when I have to go all-out, while the symptom disappears at a medium pace – so much so that in training I get the basic numbers," Aru said.
"From a certain point of view, I can only be relieved to have found the problem; on the other hand, I am angry about the bad luck that has befallen me for the umpteenth time, and that it will force me to miss the Giro d'Italia again. I will work to try to put an end to this dark period as soon as possible.
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