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Superboy set to soar

Cunego 2005 season debut set Sunday

By Tim Maloney, European Editor

23 year old cycling superboy Damiano Cunego will start his '05 season in the Classica Almeria this coming Sunday in Spain. "I'm feeling pretty emotional; I just can't wait to get the season started," he said. "Right now, I'm feeling the right kind of tension at the start of an important season".

Cunego has put in 6000km in training since he started his 2005 program last December and if his recent tests are any indication, Cunego will be even more of a force to be reckoned with this year. On his usual test climb on the Monte Lessini climb from Grezzana up to his hometown of Cerro Veronese, Cunego's power output is up 10% over last year's (2005: 400 watts / 2004: 360 watts) and with his weight at 59kg, that puts his output per kg at the world class level of 6.7 watts per kg.

Cunego explained his results by saying, "I feel like I've done a good job in the build up to my season so far; our team training camp in Terracina was good for me and I am feeling even better now than I did last year at this time. So the Vuelta a Murcia (March 2-6) means a lot, because it will show me my true race condition for this time of the season."

Cunego's diesse Giuseppe "Martino" Martinelli is looking forward to his pupil's '05 debut in what will be an all-important season of confirmation for the Lampre-Cafitta rider. "We have started on a higher level than last year," Martino explained to La Gazzetta dello Sport's Gigi Perna. "Damiano didn't have to use of a lot of energy to lose extra weight so he could really train more and better. We lowered his saddle by 1cm so he can get used to riding lower as he will in time trials."

Another change for Cunego will be that he and his family will have to get used to new digs as the newly rich young champion has spent some of his reported 1.2 million euro annual salary on a new house in Cerro Veronese.

Lined-up for Lampre-Caffita at the Clasica Almeria and the Tour of Murcia will be: Damiano Cunego, Juan Fuente Angullo, Marco Marzano, Marius Sabaliauskas, Alessandro Spezialetti, Sylvester Szmyd, Andrea Tonti and Gorazd Stangelj.

The Vuelta a Murcia includes the following stages:

March 2 - stage 1: Murcia - Molina De Segura (162 km)
March 3 - stage 2: Alhama De Murcia - Alhama De Murcia (Individual Time Trial - 22 km)
March 4 - stage 3: Mula - Fortuna (155,8 km)
March 5 - stage 4: Aguilas - Collado Bermejo (152,3 km)
March 6 - stage 5: Murcia - Murcia (150,6 km)

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