Italy's Damiano Cunego, winner of the 2004 Giro d'Italia, spent some time yesterday testing the final kilometres of Tour de France stage 15, July 20, 183 kilometres from Embrun to Prato Nevoso. The stage marks the race's only visit outside of France when it travels into Italy and Cunego believes it will be great day for his home fans.
"This finish will be of particular importance because it would be wonderful to have a good result in front of the Italian fans," remarked the winner of this year's Amstel Gold Race.
Cunego decided to skip the Giro d'Italia this year to focus on the Tour de France, a race where he won the young riders competition in 2006. As such, the 26 year-old and Italian Marco Marzano started from Chiusa di Pesio to reconnoitre the last 40 kilometres. "It was definitely an interesting day, which will be useful when we arrive here for the Tour de France," commented Cunego, who rode under grey, but dry skies. "The climb does not have a prohibitive gradient, the road rises steadily but, if there is a high speed, it could cause trouble for those who are not at their best."
Cunego will return to racing this Saturday with the Tour de Suisse, June 14 to 22, and then the Italian Championships, June 29.