Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida) heads into the Pyrenean stages of the Tour de France more than a minute behind the overall contenders for the yellow jersey but is refusing to give up hope of a another good overall placing in Paris.
The Italian suffered a late puncture on stage six, failed to get back on to the main peloton and so lost 59 seconds. He is currently 51st in the general classification, 1:24 behind race leader Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge).
"Everything has gone quite well for us so far except for Thursday's stage when I punctured. I didn’t get back on and I lost a minute or so and that's not great. But I've already put it behind me and I'm not thinking about it," Cunego told Cyclingnews.
Cunego finished sixth in the 2012 Giro d'Italia and sixth in the 2011 Tour de France. He has struggled to find the same Grand Tour form that allowed him to win the 2004 Giro d'Italia but he remains upbeat about his chances in France, where he is joint team leader with Przemyslaw Niemiec at Lampre-Merida this year.
"I said back in the winter that I wanted to ride the Tour de France and I'm still convinced I can do well, it's what I've prepared for," he said.
"I still think I can do something in the overall classification. Now we'll see how things stand after the Pyrenees and then reassess the situation and my goals. It depends on how I'm feeling and how my rivals are performing. We're close to the Pyrenees, so we'll soon find out everybody's real form and see what they've got."