Questioned in the lead-up to the Giro's stage on the Strade bianche, Damiano Cunego predicted the day could be a nightmare on the road, but after finishing second in Montalcino behind Cadel Evans he moved up to 12th place overall, a possible sign that there could be more to come from the 2004 Giro d’Italia champion.
“I couldn't overcome Evans on the line,” Cunego said after stage seven. “I chose to follow his wheel. I knew it would be the right one but he was definitely too explosive for me today. Evans and Vinokourov were the strongest riders today. It’s been kind of miracle for me to stay with them.”
On Friday, Cunego told Cyclingnews: “In [stage seven], it’s possible to get into trouble, even if you don't do anything wrong. If it rains, it will be even worse.”
It rained even more than Cunego could have imagined. “It’s been an insidious day,” he said after the stage in question. “The weather made the last 50 kilometres extremely bad. On the gravelled roads, it became impossible to ride. It was a race from another era.”
Whether he liked it or not, this stage has put Cunego back on track in the 2010 Giro. He maintains that he’s not racing for the general classification but having moved up to 12th place, 3:08 down on the new overall leader, Vinokourov.
He even attacked during the finale on the Strade bianche, an indication that he’s got the ambition to go for more stage wins. It's a tactic that could put him high in the overall this year, even if he doesn’t expect it to happen.