Cunego to focus solely on Classics
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cunego to focus solely on Classics

by Samuel Morrison at 5:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics
The Giro d'Italia takes a back seat to the Ardennes Classics

Damiano Cunego will focus on winning another Ardennes Classic next year and give his Grand Tour ambitions a rest.

"I can do a bit of everything, but the level is so high now that I have to choose. I can't afford to miss a chance at the Classics, in races like Amstel, Flèche and Liège," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

"You cannot [simultaneously] prepare for the classics and the Giro. Then if I am able to race the Tour... This year, the Giro and the Tour together finished me off."

The 29-year-old from the mountains above Verona ended his season at the GP Montréal in Canada on September 12. He said that he was mentally and physically tired. It was his worst season and one without a win.

"I know how my season went," he continued, "but I want to clarify something, I still know how to win."

To win he decided to renew his contract with team Lampre and reject offers from teams Liquigas, Saxo Bank and Astana. Continued faith from the team's sponsor and new support staff will be the winning mix for Cunego. Lampre is working with respected trainer Aldo Sassi and signed new sports director, Roberto Damiani from team OmegaPharma-Lotto

"The results come on their own. Damiani and I have talked very little, but there is a clear understanding. I like his attitude, always optimistic and with the ability to motivate everyone, not just the champions," said Cunego.

Cunego has yet to decide if he will race the Giro d'Italia or one of the other two Grand Tours. However, he will aim primarily for the Ardennes Classics that take place in the space of eight days in late April: Amstel Gold on Sunday, which he won in 2008, Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday and Liège-Bastogne-Liège on the last Sunday of the month.

"Other classics? I will rule out the Tour of Flanders. Milano-Sanremo could be possible for me, racing as an attacker. And certainly the Giro di Lombardia, because sooner or later I need to win it a fourth time.

"The Worlds? Above all, if it is not as flat as they are saying. This year, I lacked my usual motivation, but it won't be that way again. Count on me for the Worlds in Maastricht [2012] and Florence [2013]."

To prepare, Cunego begins his pre-season training tomorrow.


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