Cunego dreams of winning in Sanremo
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cunego dreams of winning in Sanremo

by Conal Andrews at 7:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Milan-Sanremo

Although the Lampre-Farnese Vini team will put a lot of faith in their sprinter Alessandro Petacchi, the Italian squad will also give Damiano Cunego the opportunity to achieve one of the big goals of his career. The former Giro d’Italia champion will have free rein to attack prior to the finish of the race, trying to get into a small group and then use his rapid finish if it stays clear.

“Winning is a dream I had since childhood, when I followed the race on television and saw Jalabert, Colombo and Zabel win,” he told Tuttobici. “I’m living a great moment. I know that on Saturday, my role will be important. My race conduct will certainly benefit Petacchi [in attacking and taking the pressure of Lampre to chase]. I will not miss the opportunity to chase victory.”

Many commentators have talked up the chances of riders such as Tom Boonen (Quick Step), double champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo Test Team) and Petacchi. However there are also many strong riders who could try something from further out, and Cunego counts himself as being amongst this group.

“In particular, Ballan, Gilbert, Pozzato, Evans – like me, they will try to prevent a sprint finish with attacks from afar,” he said. “There are also some who have been a bit hidden in recent days but who will certainly fly on Saturday.”

However he rules out talk of collaboration, perhaps because it could jeopardise Lampre’s chances if he encourages other strong riders to go clear with him. “I do not believe too much in that, because each is wearing a different jersey,” he said, when asked if he would arrange to try something with other big names. “I, Nibali, Pellizotti, Ginanni and many other good outsiders must first honour the team for whom we compete. Alliances can be just random.”

But whatever happens on the roads between Milan and Sanremo, whichever way the action plays out, he is hoping that things work out well for his team. It is in danger of losing its ProTour licence but with a new co-sponsor announced yesterday and the chance of a big win today, he has his fingers crossed that things will work out.

“On Saturday evening I hope to toast a Lampre victory, probably with Petacchi,” he said, showing that he feels a sprint is probably the most likely outcome. “Boonen will be his most dangerous opponent.”


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