On Tuesday afternoon Damiano Cunego married his long-time partner, Margherita, in a small ceremony in Villafranca (Veneto). Before going on honeymoon (10 days in Mexico) with his new wife and daughter, Ludovica, the winner of the 2004 Giro d'Italia will test his time trial position in the USA.
Cunego and Giuseppe Martinelli join with aero-guru John Cobb this Saturday in Houston, Texas at the same wind tunnel used by Lance Armstrong during some of his testing. Cobb will help the Italians perfect Cunego's positioning for time trials, a discipline where Il Piccolo Principe is steadily improving.
"I don't think that the positioning will have to be completely new," explained Cunego in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. "On the other hand, with the materials I expect to discover something interesting. I am very curious."
Cunego finished 31 seconds ahead of Marcus Fothen (Gerolsteiner) in this year's Tour de France final time trial. The unexpected result allowed the 25 year-old to increase his five-second lead in the young rider's white jersey and win the competition overall. On the final stage of this year's Tour, Fothen said he was disappointed with his time trial of the previous day, as he was the logical favourite, but as Cunego discovered: "At the end of the Tour, the legs count more than being a specialist for time trial."
Now Cunego is aiming to improve his time-trialling as he realises it can deliver valuable seconds that can mean a big difference, even in a three-week stage race.
"To lose 1 second (less) every 1000 meters will be a little bit better," continued Cunego. "It is important is to not have mishaps, and at the Tour I realized it was possible." Cunego went on to finish his first Tour 12th overall.
Since ending his season on August 31, Cunego has continued riding. "My rides are in the morning; up to four hours." After a break for his honeymoon, Cunego plans on passing the winter training in Toscana. "I don't think I will return to Sicilia like last year," said the rider from Verona. "I hope for a mild winter, which will allow me to locate myself in Toscana."
"For sure I won't be doing the Tour and Giro," finished Cunego regarding his 2007 grand tour plans. "I will aim for the Corsa Rosa, and before that Liège, a classic I am able win."