Astana team manager Alexander Vinokourov couldn’t hide his disappointment after UAE Team Emirates announced it had signed Fabio Aru.
On Tuesday, UAE Team Emirates confirmed that Aru penned a three-year deal. The Italian champion will join Daniel Martin and Alexander Kristoff on an overhauled UAE Team Emirates roster next season.
“Aru had another optional year with us, and he never warned us of his desire to leave,” Vinokourov told L’Equipe. “We asked him what his plans were on numerous occasions, but he never answered us.”
“I only learned about it in the press release. I am very disappointed in him,” Vinokourov said. “It puts us in a difficult situation because of the time of year. It will be impossible to find a replacement of his level, someone able to win the Tour de France.”
Vinokourov confirmed that the team explored signing Rigoberto Uran and he also revealed that Nairo Quintana’s agent approached the team during the Tour de France. However, both riders opted to stay with their current teams.