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Cunego calls for honesty and team unity

By:
Les Clarke
Published:
September 23, 2009, 1:53 BST,
Updated:
September 23, 2009, 2:57 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Race:
Vuelta a España, Stage 14
National director Franco Ballerini with Damiano Cunego at the Vuelta a España

National director Franco Ballerini with Damiano Cunego at the Vuelta a España

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Italian favourite places highest priority on team work for worlds

Damiano Cunego has called for his Italian teammates to be sincere in an assessment of their form leading into Sunday's world championship road race.

Cunego, who goes into the event as one of the hot favourites, told Reuters that an honest appraisal of the form of each of his teammates will be vital in determining who the team rides for, adding that they Italian manager Franco Ballerini has many strong riders within his squad, not just reigning world champion Alessandro Ballan.

With the likes of Ivan Basso, Filippo Pozzato, Stefano Garzelli and Alessandro Ballan, in addition to Cunego, it's undeniable that the Italians have possibly the strongest team on paper going into the event, with several men capable of taking the title on their day.

"The important thing is sincerity. Everyone has to say if they feel really good or not, after the race is planned. Sincerity is important. You always have to be willing to sacrifice," said Cunego.

While Cunego, who took second in last year's world titles in Varese, believes there won't be rivalries within the Italian team, he has nonetheless called for unity in the side to ensure it has the best chance of taking home the rainbow jersey.

"When you're on the national team must be united. We have many strong riders, not just Ballan," he explained.

While Ballan has struggled with illness throughout this season, Cunego has timed his run to Mendrisio well; a win in the tough, 157km stage to La Pandera in the recent Vuelta a España indicated that 'il piccolo principe' is enjoying a rich vein of form that should serve him well in Switzerland.

Admitting he is performing well at present, Cunego remained modest about his chances. "Obviously, I think with the recent results I've had I've become more of a favourite in comparison with others, but there are many other candidates," he said.

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