Cunego testing form in Andalucía
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cunego testing form in Andalucía

by Samuel Morrison at 11:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice

Italian Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini) will race his first stage race of the season starting this Sunday at the Vuelta a Andalucía in Spain. His goal is to check his form after a training camp and ahead of next month's objective, Paris-Nice.

"I can't wait to be racing," said Cunego, "in order to evaluate myself and determine where I am in my preparations."

Two weeks ago, Cunego started his season officially at the GP Etruschi, where he helped new team-mate Alessandro Petticoat win. Andalucía, February 21 to 25, is better suited to Cunego and will allow him to test his condition on the climbs, starting with stage one from Jaén.

"The team is setup right, we will be able to provide for Cunego the necessary support," said Sports Director Brent Copeland. "It's going to be interesting to see how Cunego shifts to racing from a winter of training. The race will be tough right away, stage one arrives up the Puerto de las Allandas [1002m] climb, it will give us good indications [of Cunego's form]."

In 2004, Cunego won the Giro d'Italia, but has performed better in one-day races and stages of multi-day races in recent years. Last September at the Vuelta a España, he won two stages: Alto de Aitana and La Pandera. They accounted for two of his five wins last season.

"I am riding better than last year," said Cunego earlier this year. "The tests are confirming this. I am one kilogram less [than at the start last year], and you can feel it even in this early-season. I trained all winter even with the bad weather, also going to the track in Montichiari for fixed-gear rides. I am counting on being ready right away, at Paris-Nice I want to aim for one or two stages."

Cunego will ride both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France, aiming for stage wins and not the overall classification.

"It is a tough and ambitious challenge. I have already done it, in 2006, but this time I want to aim only for stages. To win one at both the Giro and Tour would be the best.

"The fans want to see me in the mountains of the Giro and Tour. This makes the difference in their hearts."

Cunego will race with Alfredo Balloni, Grega Bole, Angelo Furlan, David Loosli, Mirco Lorenzetto and Marco Marzano at the Vuelta a Andalucía.


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