Tirreno-Adriatico: Cunego pleased with long break and mountains jersey victory
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tirreno-Adriatico: Cunego pleased with long break and mountains jersey victory

by VeloNation Press at 7:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tirreno-Adriatico
Pozzato takes cautious approach, withdraws due to weather conditions

Damiano CuengoHis target is the Ardennes Classics but Damiano Cunego will be encouraged by signs that his form is building well, and also by his mountains classification success in Tirreno Adriatico. One stage remains in the race but with today’s leg being an individual time trial, the Italian has essentially already won the mountains jersey.

The former Giro d’Italia winner started yesterday’s sixth leg three points behind the KOM leader Cesare Benedetti (Team NetApp-Endura). The latter had worked hard in the race to try to take the victory in that classification, but missed out on a break of sixteen which went clear approximately twenty kilometres into the stage.

Cunego was present, though, and made the most of that platform. He notched up five points on the first ascent of Sant'Elpidio a Mare, then went clear in pursuit of Tom Dumoulin (Argos Shimano) on the second, taking maximum points at the top.

As a result of that, he ended the stage seven points clear of Benedetti, and with the jersey on his shoulders.

“I'm happy because the victory in the best climber ranking rewards all the efforts I made in these days,” he said after taking the prize. “As for yesterday, today too I was willing to attack and I could join a good breakaway. It's a pity the bunch didn't give us too much advantage, but I'm satisfied: I did something good for cycling fans, for the team and for myself, since I'm aware that my condition is increasing.”

Cunego previously finished 30th in the Trofeo Laigueglia and sixteenth in Strade Bianche. He’ll keep working, secure in the knowledge that at this point in time, he seems to be heading towards a good Ardennes Classics campaign.

As for his Lampre Merida team-mate Filippo Pozzato, he will target success in this coming weekend’s Milan-Sanremo. He has been riding strongly this season but was a non-finisher yesterday; he said that pulling out was a precautionary measure.

“It started raining and the weather got so cold: I'm recovering from a cold, so I did not want to risk relapses and I preferred to stop.”


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