Damiano Cunego will line up for his second grand tour of the year after riding the Giro d'Italia and sitting out the Tour de France to prepare himself for the Vuelta a España. Cunego has raced a limited schedule since his 6th place overall at this year’s Giro and with a mediocre Tour de Suisse and a DNF registered at the recent Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, his ability to race with the general classification contenders seems uncertain.
Cunego outlined his plans earlier in the year to skip the Tour and focus on the Vuelta as preparation for the World Championships. He may be specifically timing his form for the race that comes just two weeks after the grand tour. He’s shown his ability to target and deliver results in one-day races in the past so his plans for the Vuelta may be initially based around stage wins rather than the general classification.
The team has outlined five riders suitable for the seven classified mountain stages, all of which are summit finishes. The absence of Alessandro Petacchi means that Davide Cimolai and Davide Viganò will play their hand in the limited sprint opportunities.
Andrew Anacona, Marco Marzano, Przemyslaw Niemiec and Morris Possoni will look to support the leader Cunego during the many mountainous stages whilst seeking their own opportunities when they arise. These four riders come to Spain without a victory this season and will be keen to impress if the chance reveals itself. Cunego is the only rider from the Vuelta squad with a victory this year and he will look for another to boost his confidence ahead of the road world championships. The UCI Road World Championships is held 14 days after the Vuelta wraps up on 9 September.
Denys Kostyuk and Oleksandr Kvachuk will look to protect Cunego on the flats and leading into selective climbs, ensuring the punchy Italian climber is well placed at decisive moments.