Damiano Cunego skipping Giro d'Italia

Former winner eyeing Tour de France

Former Tour of Italy winner Damiano Cunego looks set to skip this year's Giro in order to focus on his preparations for the Tour de France, his Lampre team revealed Sunday.

The 2004 Tour of Italy winner has made the French race his top priority this season, Lampre sporting director Maurizio Piovani told AFP.

"The definitive decision will be taken after the Liege-Bastogne-Liege (race)," explained Piovani. "But the Tour of Switzerland (June 14-22) would be better preparation for the Tour de France than the Giro (May 10-June 1)."

The 26-year-old Italian has competed just once in the Tour de France in 2006, finishing in 11th place with the white jersey of the best young rider.   

But he is among the favourites this year with Spaniard Alberto Contador not defending his title because his Astana team were not invited by organisers.

Cunego is not competing in the Criterium International here in the Ardennes this weekend because of an infection, but is planning to take part in the Amstel Gold Race, the Fleche Wallonne and the Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Danilo Di Luca to race at Settimana Lombardia

Giro d'Italia champion Danilo Di Luca will ride in the Settimana Lombardia on April 6, his LPR team said on Sunday.

Di Luca is currently embroiled in an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to have a three-month suspension he served for a doping offence last year overturned.

He is also involved in another doping case with the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) requesting a two-year ban against Di Luca for providing an abnormal doping test during last year's Giro.

The Italian Cycling Federation is due to take a decision on that case on the same day as the race, meaning Di Luca will not be present at his own hearing.

© BikeRadar & AFP 2008 

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