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Fabio Aru will not start the 2021 UCI world cyclocross championships this coming weekend, Ostend, Belgium.
The 30-year-old rider with the Qhubeka-Assos squad had previously stated he would make a return to cyclocross, and his team management had already given him the go-ahead.
“I will participate without ambitions and will be back on the road in February. I will be watching Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Tom Pidcock, and see how they do in the field,” Aru told the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport just two weeks ago.
However, with COVID-19 still not under control, and little ’cross racing under his belt, the Italian climbing specialist will no longer line up against the current and previous world cyclocross champions Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, and Zdeněk Štybar.
As of this report, Aru, Qhubeka-Assos, nor the Italian cycling federation have made an official statement about the move to withdraw from the race.
La Gazzetta had previously reported that Aru was to join a 12-rider Italian national team, featuring six women and six men, January 30-31 in Belgium.
Aru started a few cyclocross races this season and finished 10th in the Italian championships.
Currently, Aru is slated to make his 2021 debut with the South African registered team at the Tour de la Provence, February 11 – 14.
An addition to the newly formed Qhubeka-Assos squad, Aru had previously raced as a professional with Astana Pro Team 2012 – 17, and UAE Team Emirates 2018 – 20.