Defending Giro champ Damiano Cunego says he is putting his own goals aside to do all he can to help
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Damiano Cunego has made it definitive: the axe is buried and he vows to help Gilberto Simoni to try to derail Paolo Savoldelli in the march toward Milan. The sometimes-frosty relations between Cunego and his Lampre-Caffita team-mate are clearly on the mend after the 2004 champion promised he’d rather help Simoni win the Giro than win a stage in the closing days of the 88th Giro d’Italia.
“My priority is to help Gilberto. We have the opportunity to win this Giro with him and I intend to help him all I can,” Cunego said at the line following Wednesay’s 16th stage.
Cunego’s own chances for a repeat Giro victory collapsed under pressure in the first serious mountains in stage 11 and he said he wants to win a stage to make up for bitter disappointment. But with Simoni still in with a fighting chance at 1-48 back, Cunego has publicly declared he’s putting his personal ambitions aside for the good of the team.
“If there’s a chance to win a stage, I will take it, but only after the team’s interests are resolved. The most important thing is to be with Gilberto and help him any way we can,” Cunego continued. “Savoldelli and Di Luca are very strong, but we’re going to make it a fight. The team is motivated.”
Whether it unfolds that way remains to be seen.