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Cunego confident ahead of Mantova trial

Cycling News
December 4, 2013, 16:12,
December 4, 2013, 16:13
First Edition Cycling News, Thursday, December 5, 2013
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) has had a disappointing 2013 campaign.

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) has had a disappointing 2013 campaign.

  • Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) has had a disappointing 2013 campaign.
  • Damiano Cunego tried to bridge with Hoogerland, but the pair never made it

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Italian insists he is still a team leader

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) says he is confident he will be cleared of wrongdoing when the Mantova-based doping inquiry goes to trial, beginning on December 10. The investigation focused primarily on the links between the Lampre team and the pharmacist Guido Nigrelli in 2008 and 2009, and Cunego is one of 28 people who have been called to trial.

The anti-doping expert Dr. Sandro Donati is understood to have compiled a report for prosecutors with Dr. Roberta Pacifici in which they analyse the evidence amassed by the Mantova investigators. In July, Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the 167-page document included the allegation that Cunego had used EPO and other prohibited substances.

“I don’t know the authors of this analysis, it’s nonsense,” Cunego told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve been waiting years for this story to clear up. Honestly, I’m tired of it, I feel like I’m being taken for a ride. But I’m also confident, because in the end, right is with those who are honest. And I am.”

Cunego was speaking on the eve of Lampre-Merida’s first training camp of the winter and in spite of a lacklustre 2013 campaign that saw him pick up just one victory, the 32-year-old is adamant that he still has what it takes to be a team leader.

“My physical preparation started going badly straightaway, between the bad weather and missed races,” Cunego said. “So I was always chasing my condition and it never arrived. I was sick a couple of times. In short, it all went wrong.

“In some races at the end of the year, I helped my teammates. It was right to do that and I was happy to do it, but my scope remains that of a captain, of a winner.”

A decade on from a Giro d’Italia victory that suggested Cunego would dominate Italian cycling for years to come, he will begin his 2014 season earlier than ever before, at the Tour de San Luis in January. Cunego dismissed the idea that he does not train with the same focus as some of his rivals and defended his decision to remain at the same team for his entire career.

“I train hard and I have witnesses too,” he laughed. “In life and in races, you listen to advice and then you take decisions yourself.

“People have complained that I’ve spent too long with Lampre. But I still feel very good here and I don’t regret it. In cycling, it’s not easy to find the ideal atmosphere, and I really like this team.”






JantonStentenan 12 months ago
You say it Cunego. Let em criticize and hate because they'll never be as good as you. You have something that they'll never have -- a Giro. Actually you have a few somethings that they'll never have. Don't back down, take these people head on and you'll come out on top every time. Your fans got your back 100%. I know I do.
TANK91 12 months ago
Ha ha the Damiano lover, you see that Giro parcours lol., Cunego is washed up, he said it himself it was nice working for people but im still leader ha ha dream on Cunego its Ullissi's time now.
Stalky 12 months ago
Ulissi? More like Niemic
PascalLap 12 months ago
+ Costa
Weiwen Ng 12 months ago
As I recall from the 2004 Giro coverage, he had a naturally high hematocrit level. Probably he's not getting the same boost from EPO as the rest of them.
straumoy 12 months ago
Everybody had naturally high hematocrit levels in 2004...
bianchi1885 12 months ago
Some of the best extra-terrestrial cycling I've watched was the 2004 Giro.
Mark Schwitau 12 months ago
It's quite hard to get wins at the tip top of this profession. The guy shows up and rides hard at a very difficult level. Not many could ever dream of even getting a place on lampre as bottle filler, much less ride competitively.
rastymick 12 months ago
Yes, but strangely most of those "cycling experts" here think it's just a piece of cake to win pro races. Sometimes I even get the impression, that some commenters here think that if only they had a pro contract, they would probably dominate the peloton...
Ryo Hazuki 12 months ago
the mantova trial. oh yeah that should've started more than 2 years ago. bs of course and it will never happen. loud mouths and nothing to show for it. there's a reason they had berlusconi for their leader for so many years.
Michael Smith 12 months ago
What does history tell us about all the cyclist that profess their innocence only to be found dirty in the end. 2004 is still a part of the doping era and it's difficult to believe any of the "winners" protest.
Strydz 12 months ago
He would not have been clean when he won that Giro for sure, his performance has dropped off in the last few years so maybe he did stop. It doesn't really matter as his biggest victory was a fraud