Lampre below expectations

Damiano Cunego got dropped from the group of favourites on the final climb

Damiano Cunego got dropped from the group of favourites on the final climb (Image credit: Sirotti)

Wednesday's second Dolomites mountain stage of this year's Giro proved to be a hard one; not only for the event's star rider Lance Armstrong - who lost nearly three minutes - but also for Italian team Lampre and its leaders, Damiano Cunego and Marzio Bruseghin.

'Il piccolo principe' Cunego, who had started this Giro hoping for the overall victory, finished on top of the Alpe di Siusi in 32nd position, losing 2.39 minutes. "I paid for the race's fast pace on the last climb," said the 2004 Giro victor. "After trying to follow in the early kilometres of the climb, and with 5.500 metres remaining I realized I was at my limit and therefore chose to ride at my own steady pace. Unfortunately, they rode at a high speed which is why I lost significant time."

After five stages Cunego sits in 21nd position on general classification, 3.29 minutes down on the race leader Danilo Di Luca. "I know that things seem complicated in view of the general classification, but I accept the situation and will give everything in the next few stages."

Bruseghin also fell back on the final ascent. "The stage was too short for a rider with my characteristics. I need a few more kilometres as well as another climb to get me going. I'm sorry that Damiano was in difficulty, too."

Bruseghin, who is rated as Cunego's super domestique in this Giro, is now 19th on general classification, 3.16 minutes back.

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