By Gregor Brown
Sunday's 12th Gran Premio Beghelli is set to test Damiano Cunego's form in light of the Giro di Lombardia next week. The 195.8-kilometre parcours in Emilia Romagna, Italy will pit Cunego against top-rivals Cadel Evans, Fabian Wegmann and Alexandr Kolobnev.
"He [Cunego] won in a sprint last year, but it could arrive in an escape this year," warned Directeur Sportif Maurizio Piovani to Cyclingnews.
Cunego won the 2007 edition in a sprint from a nine-man group. He bettered Germany's Wegmann and fellow Italian Alessandro Bertolini and went on to win Giro di Lombardia six days later. He first won Lombardia in 2004.
Piovani was impressed with Cunego at the Giro dell'Emilia and believes his form is there for Lombardia. "Di Luca made the difference and Cunego could not follow and decided to go at his own pace. He has shown his form over the distances, like at Worlds, and Lombardia will suit him – he will be a protagonist."
The Beghelli parcours climbs the Zappolino each time in the closing eight 12.3-kilometre circuits. The final climb leaves 7.8 kilometres to the finish in Monteveglio.