Cunego: 'Simoni and me are better apart'

Lampre team leader Damiano Cunego says it's better for everyone that he and Gilberto Simoni are no l

Lampre team leader Damiano Cunego says it's better for everyone that he and Gilberto Simoni are no l

PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM

After finishing an encouraging 11th on Thursday's tough second stage of the Tour of Murcia, Damiano Cunego spoke to El Diario Vasco about his plans for the season, and admitted that Gilberto Simoni's departure from the Lampre team should suit both riders.

Relations between the pair soured in 2004 when Cunego, very much the junior partner at that point, emerged as the stronger of them at the Giro and went on to take that title. Last season was dotted with instances of the pair shaking hands in public, then reportedly falling out with each other again in private.

"It's probably better for me and Simoni to be separate, in different team," Cunego confessed. "Each one of us can do things as we want to. The situation is now much clearer and that can only benefit all those involved."

Cunego said that his main objective this year remains the Giro, adding that he will "ride the Tour with the idea of gaining experience of the race for years to come". His build-up to the Giro has begun with a "more relaxed" start to his campaign than previously when "everyone was expecting me to win right from the start, which put a lot of pressure on me".

The Lampre team leader admitted his disappointment at missing the chance to take part in Lance Armstrong's final Tour last year due to glandular fever. "Missing the chance to ride with him was the main disappointment about that. We are from two different cycling generations. The only time I rode with him was at the Semana Catalana in 2003."

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