4/18/2012 - TEAM NEWS!
Cunego sprints to victory at Giro del Trentino
Frank new overall leader ahead of Kreuziger
Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) took his first victory of the season after a thrilling second stage of the Giro del Trentino at Sant’Orsola Terme. The Italian outsprinted Carlos Betancur (Acqua & Sapone) and Roman Kreuziger (Astana) for the win, while Mathias Frank (BMC) moves into the overall lead.
"I knew my fitness is good, the team is strong and the course was suitable for my characteristics," said Cunego. "I'm very happy I made all these conditions become reality, obtaining the first victory in this season. This helps me to decrease the disappointment from the Cauberg crash [at the Amstel Gold Race]."
The race was blown apart on the snowy descent of the Passo Redebus, with Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF) and race leader Taylor Phinney (BMC) among those caught behind.
Immediately after reaching the town of Pergine at the base of the descent, Cunego’s Lampre teammates Michele Scarponi and Przemyslaw Niemiec took over on the short, shallow climb to the finish at Sant’Orsola Terme. Their efforts succeeded in setting up the Cunego for the stage win, while Frank managed to stay within sight of the leaders to ensure that the race lead remains with BMC for another day.
Frank leads Kreuziger by three seconds and Betancur by seven seconds on general classification.
"I knew only Roman Kreuziger couldn't win because he would was only 10 seconds down and could have taken the jersey with the bonus seconds," Frank said. "So for me, it was good to stay in the group and try my best in the sprint. I lost a few seconds but got the jersey. It's really exciting for sure.
"It was another positive showing after yesterday’s success in the TTT. Both Marco Pinotti and myself were up front, and we are really happy to have held on to the jersey. But tomorrow it’s going to be a very different business..."
On Thursday the peloton faces a tough finale, with the hors catégorie Punta Veleno climb situated 2.5km from the finish line of the 167.8km stage. The Punta Veleno climb is 8.5km in length with an average gradient of 15 percent. In its most difficult sectors the pitch reaches 20 percent.
The climb is one BMC's assistant director Max Sciandri has seen before in his days as a professional cyclist. "Tomorrow is going to be super hard," Sciandri said. "We did it in the '80s in the Giro d'Italia and haven't done it since. It's so steep, the mechanics are going to go up it on motorbikes."
After today's stage win Cunego is only 10 seconds out of the leader's jersey in fifth place on general classification. The 30-year-old Italian has reconned the Punta Veleno climb and knows what awaits the peloton tomorrow. "I went to have a look at it, and it’s really dreadful, even harder than the Zoncolan," said Cunego. "But right now I am enjoying this win, I badly wanted it, after many placements and some bad luck. I am confident looking forward to the next stages, I've got a great team and today it really showed."
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