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Damiano Cunego (Lampre-NGC)
Italian team has options in one-day Classic: Petacchi for sprint, Cunego an 'outsider'
Damiano Cunego and team Lampre-Farnese are already looking ahead four months to Milano-Sanremo, one of Italy's biggest one-day Classics. Former winner and sprinter Alessandro Petacchi signed for the team in August and will add another dimension for the race.
"When there is someone like him to carry to the sprint it's good to also have an outsider [for the victory too]," Cunego told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "The team is stronger in this way and causes trouble for our rivals. Then, if the race goes in a certain way... You can try, and have nothing to lose. Why not?"
The race, March 20, starts in Milano and ends along the Ligurian coast, in Sanremo. The climbs in the final 25 kilometres of the 298-kilometre race often help shape the sprint or allow an attacking rider to go free in a small group.
Filippo Pozzato was the 'outsider' for team Quick Step in 2006. The team's rivals kept track of sprinter and favourite Tom Boonen, but Pozzato went clear in a group of six riders on the race's final climb, the Poggio.
Cunego discussed his views of the 2010 Milano-Sanremo in Peschiera del Garda (Verona) Sunday. He joined 200 fans for an annual fan club day, despite just recovering from the flu.
"Was it H1N1? I think so," said Cunego. "Three days with a very high fever, I was always in bed. Luckily it passed."
Cunego leaves today for a vacation in Zanzibar. He will plan his training programme and the races prior to Sanremo at a camp with the team when he returns.
Brit Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) won this year's Milano-Sanremo with a strong sprint to catch German Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam).
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