By Gregor Brown
Damiano Cunego proved the work he did on the Spanish island of Tenerife was worthwhile with back-to-back stage wins in Coppi e Bartali yesterday and Wednesday. However, the benefits of training at altitude should pay greater dividends in the coming weeks.
"We still have a lot of work to do," said Lampre's directeur sportif Brent Copeland to Cyclingnews. "It shows the work is coming together. A stage win was important, but the overall is not so important."
Cunego has two important upcoming goals: the Ardennes classics in the last week of April and a second overall title in the Giro d'Italia, May 9-31. With two wins in Coppi e Bartali and the Vuelta a País Vasco to fine-tune his condition, he is on target for the first of the two objectives.
"Everyone says he is in form early. The fact that he has raced less [than other years] means he has more work to do," added Copeland.
Coppi e Bartali is Cunego's fifth race of the season and first after his return from Spain on March 19. He will race País Vasco (April 6-11), Amstel Gold (April 19), Flèche Wallonne (April 22), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 26) and the Tour de Romandie (April 28-May 3) prior to the Giro d'Italia.
Cunego travelled to Tenerife (south of mainland Spain, west of Morocco) on February 26 with Copeland and teammates Paolo Tiralongo, Marco Marzano and Mauro Santambrogio.
The win yesterday in Serramazzoni was Cunego's fortieth win in eight seasons as a professional.