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Damiano Cunego
Cunego at the 2006 Giro d'Italia
Cunego at the 2006 Giro d'Italia
Personal information
Full name Damiano Cunego
Nickname Il Piccolo Principe (The Little Prince)
Date of birth September 19, 1981 (1981-09-19) (age 28)
Country  Italy
Height 1.69 m (5 ft 6+12 in)
Weight 65 kg (140 lb; 10.2 st)
Team information
Current team Lampre-Farnese Vini
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Classics specialist
Climbing specialist
Professional team(s)1
Major wins
Giro d'Italia
4 Stages
Jersey pink.svg Overall classification (2004)

Tour de France

Jersey white.svg Young rider classification (2006)

Vuelta a España

2 Stages

Giro di Lombardia (2004, 2007, 2008)
Amstel Gold Race (2008)

Infobox last updated on:
September 13, 2009

1 Team names given are those prevailing
at time of rider beginning association with that team.

Damiano Cunego (born September 19, 1981 in Cerro Veronese, Veneto) is an Italian professional road racing cyclist who rides for the Italian UCI ProTeam Lampre-Farnese Vini. His biggest wins are the 2004 Giro d'Italia, the 2008 Amstel Gold Race, and the Giro di Lombardia in 2004, 2007, 2008. He finished second in the UCI Road World Championships in 2008 and in the 2008 UCI ProTour. Primarily a climber, he has improved his Time-Trialing and he is characterized by a great sprinting ability, unusual for a climber. He is considered the best Italian cyclist for classics, after Paolo Bettini's withdrawal.



Cunego began cycling as a teenager after being a successful cross-country runner. He was discovered by Giuseppe Martinelli who also worked closely with the late Marco Pantani. Cunego turned pro in 2002 at 20 years-old with Saeco team. Cunego won the Giro d'Oro and the Giro Medio Brenta in his first season as a professional with Saeco in 2002. In 2003 he won the seventh stage and the overall classification of Tour of Qinghai Lake.[1]

He came to prominence in May 2004, winning the Giro d'Italia at 22 with the Saeco team, which became Lampre-Caffita in 2005. Cunego's strength came as a blow to his captain Gilberto Simoni. Relations between the two during the race were strained when Cunego sprinted away from Simoni to win the 18th stage after Simoni's solo breakaway. La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that as Simoni passed by Cunego, who was surrounded by journalists, Simoni pointed his finger at the 22 year old Maglia Rosa and angrily said "You're a are really stupid."[2]

During 2004 he won the Giro di Lombardia in October, his 13th victory of the season. He finished the season number one in the UCI Road World Cup, the youngest rider to achieve it, aged 23. He was also the last rider ranked first on the world ranking, because from 2005 the ranking was replaced by the UCI ProTour.

In the 2005 Giro d'Italia, Simoni and Cunego were co-captains of Lampre-Caffita. Cunego posed no threat to Simoni. He faltered during the first climb in the Dolomites, losing six minutes in the day and any prospect of winning. At the time his team attributed his loss to a "psychological crisis" and Cunego said "a great weight has been lifted from me by this defeat." After the race, he was found to have Epstein-Barr virus. He did not enter the 2005 Tour de France.

In 2006, Cunego finished third in Liège-Bastogne-Liège losing to Alejandro Valverde and Paolo Bettini in a sprint finish. In the 2006 Tour de France Cunego was best young rider. He finished 2nd on stage 15 to Alpe D'Huez, after losing to Fränk Schleck, who broke away in the final 2 km. He also finished 3rd on stage 17, on the road to Morzine. In 2007 Cunego again won the Giro Del Trentino and his second Giro di Lombardia.

In 2008 he won the Klasika Primavera and the Amstel Gold Race,[3] with two powerful sprints against Alejandro Valverde and Frank Schleck, with victory in the latter propelling him to the top of the UCI Pro Tour rankings,[3] as he also went on to finish second in the 2008 UCI Road World Championships.[4] He was widely tipped to be victorious in the 2008 Tour de France, but he struggled and eventually dropped out before the finish. By the end of the year Cunego conquered for the third time "the race of falling leaves" and then he ended the season with the victory of the Japan Cup, confirming himself as one of the best Classics Specialist in the world.

In 2009 he won the Settimana internazionale di Coppi e Bartali risulting victorious in two stages; later he won two mountain stages at Vuelta a Espana being the favorite in the World Championship, where he arrived 8th.


1st Giro d'Oro
1st Giro del Medio Brenta
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall, Tour of Qinghai Lake
1st Stage 7
1st Jersey pink.svg Winner Overall Classification Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 2
1st Stage 7
1st Stage 16
1st Stage 18
1st Giro di Lombardia
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall, Giro del Trentino
1st Stage 1
1st Stage 2
1st Giro dell'Appennino
1st GP Industria & Artigianato
1st Gran Premio Nobili Rubinetterie
1st Memorial Marco Pantani
1st Gran Premio Nobili Rubinetterie
1st Trofeo Melinda
1st Japan Cup
2nd Overall Tour de Romandie
1st Stage 3
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Giro del Trentino
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale "Coppi e Bartali"
1st Stage 3
1st Giro d'Oro
1st GP Industria & Artigianato
3rd Liege-Bastogne-Liege
4th Overall Giro d'Italia
11th Overall Tour de France
1st Jersey white.svg Young Rider classification
1st Giro di Lombardia
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall, Giro del Trentino
1st Stage 1
1st Stage 2
1st Stage 4 Deutschland Tour
1st GP Beghelli
5th Overall Giro d'Italia
1st Giro di Lombardia
1st Amstel Gold Race
1st Klasika Primavera
1st Overall Japan Cup
2nd Silver medal blank.svg UCI Road Race World Championships
3rd La Flèche Wallonne
4th Overall, Vuelta al País Vasco
1st Stage 5
1st Jersey green.svg Points Classification
1st Stage 8 Vuelta a España
1st Stage 14 Vuelta a España
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall, Settimana Ciclistica Internazionale "Coppi e Bartali"
1st Stage 2
1st Stage 3
3rd La Flèche Wallonne
5th Amstel Gold Race
6th Overall, Vuelta al País Vasco
6th Overall, Tour de Suisse
7th Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Notes and references

External links



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