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Rookie Cunego will come back for to win

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital)

Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

By Jean-François Quénet in L'Alpe d'Huez

Damiano Cunego was extremely disappointed at the finishing line of L'Alpe d'Huez when he scored Lampre's fourth 2nd place in a stage of the 2006 Tour de France (Daniele Bennati, Alessandro Ballan and Salvatore Commesso did so before him). "Don't congratulate me," he said. "Only the win counts. Congratulate the winner. Fränk Schleck surprised me when he attacked. He was more explosive than me, I couldn't respond. Earlier on I also asked [Eddy] Mazzoleni to pace for me, but he was tired as well."

A few minutes later, he had a different interpretation on things. "What I've done is more than positive. In a breakaway, you give everything to look for a little bit of glory. Yesterday I said that L'Alpe d'Huez was just a climb like the other ones. I also thought the same while I was climbing. But at the top, the emotion is different than anywhere else. My second place means a lot for the future. I'll come back to win that stage one day. I can improve a lot."

He noticed on the road to L'Alpe d'Huez that some tifosi had painted the road with some green and red colours on each side of the white parts. "They've done a great job transforming the middle of the road with our national colours and I've also seen so many Italian flags. I loved it," he added.

The world's number one rider of the 2004 season discovered the Tour quietly, but seems to have found the right condition along the way. "I felt more tired during the first ten days," he said. "I'll try to attack again tomorrow. Italian and French fans love the guys who go in breakaways rather than those who suck wheels all the time. I can allow myself to go for a crazy attack because I didn't come here for GC. I'll do it one day. I don't know which year, but I'll select my goals and choose to skip the Giro in order to ride only the Tour."

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