Young Italian super talent Damiano Cunego (Lampre Caffita) may be ill with mononucleosis, which would explain his poor performances at this year's Giro d'Italia, where he was initially counted among the favourites. After finishing the Grand Tour 24 minutes behind the victorious Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel), the 2004 Giro winner underwent some blood testing to determine the state of his health. The examination revealed an abnormally important reaction to certain viruses, namely the Epstian-Barr virus (EBV), which causes mononucleosis infection.
According to a team statement, further testing will take place between today and June 20, 2005. In the meantime, Cunego's training schedule has been rearranged until the examining doctors are able to conclude on his health. Lampre-Caffita has not made any amendments to Cunego's racing schedule - yet. The illness usually lasts for four weeks, but fatigue from it may persist for a few months, and it could endanger Cunego's Tour de France participation, or at least his preparation for it. Mononucleosis is a viral infection whose symptoms include fever and tiredness. It is most common among people 15 to 35 years old, and cannot be treated except by rest.