While the 2021 Vuelta a España ended on Sunday, the career of a certain Fabio Aru (Qhubeka-NextHash) also ended.
The years have been difficult for the 31-year-old former Italian champion. His career peaked between 2014 and 2017, with an overall victory in the 2015 Vuelta and stage victories in all three Grand Tours. And while it has shown occasional flashes of brilliance since those golden years, it hasn’t quite hit the same highs it has in that four-year span.
Aru 2021 was its best season for several years, with a second place overall in the Sibiu Cycling Tour in July and the Vuelta a Burgos in August. At the Vuelta, Aru was around the mark until stage 10 when a stomach bug derailed his plans. He was about to retire but won to finish the race 51st overall.
As Aru walks away towards the sunset, we wanted to pay homage to one of the great animators of the sport. For years, Aru has kept us entertained, not only with his explosive and emotional attacks in the mountains, but with some of the most expressive facial contortions we’ve seen in professional cycling. There is a reason why Faces of Aru Instagram page attracted something from a following cult.
The following gallery features both the highlights of Aru’s career and a selection of some of the many wonderful facial expressions he has entertained us with over the years. From all of us to you, Fabio: thanks for all the fun, congratulations on a great career and all the best for the future.
Aru’s professional victories
– 2014 Giro d’Italia, stage 15 – 2014 Vuelta a España, stage 11 – 2014 Vuelta a España, stage 18
– 2015 Giro d’Italia, stage 19 – 2015 Giro d’Italia, stage 20 – 2015 Vuelta a España, general
– 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné, stage 3
– Italian national road race 2017 – Tour de France 2017, stage 5
The history of the Aru team
2012: Intern with Astana 2013-2017: Astana 2018-2020: United Arab Emirates Team 2021: Qhubeka NextHash