The only short stage race in Italy in which Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Caffita) will participate before the Giro d'Italia will be the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali from March 22-26. "I took part in this race in 2002, my first professional year," the 2004 Giro d'Italia winner recalled. "I remember getting 14th in the most gruelling stage. This year, after my debut in Murcia where I finished on the podium, I feel I am in good condition and am confident I will do well."
The 23 year-old Cunego will assess his current form at the race. "I would like to finish in a good position after the team time trial in Misano Adriatico on Tuesday. I will have a really strong team with me. In stage four on Friday, the final climb to Serramazzoni I will measure myself in order to better understand my actual condition, which I believe to be good at this moment," he said. Cunego has had two days of intensive work on Thursday and Friday, with rides of five and a half hours (180 km) the first day, and four and a half hours (150km) on the following day. On Saturday, Sunday as well as Monday, he will train two hours surrounding the city of Verona.
Lampre-Caffita is also counting on Giuliano Figueras, winner of last year's Settimana Internazionale. "Giuliano performed very well in San Remo," team director Giuseppe Martinelli said. "I am confident that he can recreate the right rhythm at the race. As well as looking over Damiano's shoulder, he can also be a great participant in a few attacks. I think we can think about a victory here."
Lampre-Caffita will line up the following riders in Riccione on Tuesday, March 22: Damiano Cunego, Giuliano Figueras, Marco Marzano, Eugeni Petrov, Marius Sabaliauskas, Gorazd Stangelj, Alessandro Spezialetti and Andrea Tonti.