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Damiano Cunego Photo Gallery

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Major victories | Teams | Photo gallery

Damiano Cunego (born September 19, 1981) electrified the world when he showed up in the professional cycling world.

He turned pro at the ripe old age of twenty in 2002. The next year he won the Tour of Qinghai Lake stage race. But it was in 2004 (when he was just 22) that his extraordinary talent was made clear. In the 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia, with its mountaintop finish at Bormio 2000, he and his team captain Gilberto Simoni were part of an elite leading group of five riders nearing the finish.

As they came ever closer to the line Cunego kept looking back for Simoni to lead him out for the sprint. But Simoni couldn't answer the call, he just didn't have the suds that day.

Cunego finally gave up waiting and jumped away to win the stage and the GC lead. At that point Simoni, furious at Cunego for what he unfairly thought was a betrayal, was more than three minutes down. Cunego won that Giro and also won several other important races, including the Tour of Lombardy.

It was clear to everyone that an extraordinary rider had arrived and that he would win everything, everywhere for years.

But then fate knocked on the door. Cunego had an indifferent 2005. During the Giro d'Italia it turned out he had Epstein-Barr virus (the source of mononucleosis, among other troubles it can cause). He recovered and was still able to win the Japan Cup and the Trofeo Melinda. But this was not the Damiano Cunego of 2004.

By 2006 he could win big races again, and in 2008 he had some extraordinary successes.

2011 was his last good year. He has continued to race professionally and announced that 2018 would be his last year to race.

It has been an extraordinary career.

Major victories and high placings:

1999:

2002:

2003:

2004:

2005:

2006:

2008:

2009:

2011:

2013:

Professional Teams:

2002-2004: Saeco
2005-2014: Lampre
2015-2018: Nippo-Vini Fantini

Nickname: The Little Prince (Il Piccolo Principe)

Photos: Pictures by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Damiano Cunego

Damiano Cunego in the leader's pink jersey in the 2004 Giro d'Italia

Damiano Cunego

Winning stage 18 of the 2004 Giro d'Italia

Cunego & Gilberto Simoni

On the final podium with Gilberto Simoni

Damiano Cunego

Cunego wins the 2004 Tour of Lombardy.

Damiano Cunego

Descending in stage 10 of the the 2009 Vuelta a España. Sirotti photo.

Damiano Cunego

Late in the 2009 Season. Cunego is on Ivan Basso's wheel.

Damiano Cunego

Climbing in the 2010 Amstel Gold Race

Damiano Cunego

Cunego (left) chasing on a wet, muddy day in the 2010 Giro d'Italia.

Damiano Cunego

Climbing in stage 15 of the 2010 Giro.

Damiano Cunego

Racing in the 2011 Tour of Sardinia

Monepaschi

Climbing the white gravel roads of the 2011 Strade Bianche

Damiano Cunego and Cadel evans

Leading Cadel Evans in stage 6 of the 2011 Tirreno-Adriatico

Daiano Cunego

On to the 2011 Tour de France, stage 12.

Damiano Cunego and Frank Schleck

Cunego leads Frank Schleck on a descent in that 2011 Tour.

Damiano Cunego

Cunego looks back after the finish of the second stage of the 2012 Giro del Trentino.

Damiano Cunego

In the thick of things in the 2012 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Damiano Cunego and michele Scarponi

On a recon of the 2012 Giro d'Italia with the late Michele Scarponi

Damiano Cunego

Cunego climbing in stage 20 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia

Damiano Cunego

Winning stage 2 of the 2012 Tour of Switzerland

Damiano Cunego

Climbing in stage 20 of the 2012 Vuelta a España

Damiano Cunego

The 2012 Giro dell'Emilia

Damiano Cunego

Stage 5 of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriatico

Damiano Cunego

Cunego climbs in stage 9 of the 2013 Tour de France.

Damiano Cunego

Cunego climbing in the 2014 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Damiano Cunego

Stage 6 was a wet day of racing in the 2014 Giro d'Italia.

Damiano Cunego

Cunego looking perfect on the bike as he descends in stage 9 of the 2014 Giro d'Italia.

Damiano Cunego

Cunego joined Nippo-Vini Fantini in 2015 and here he wears his new kit in stage 4 of the Coppo-Bartali race.

Damiano Cunego

Ready to start stage 4 of the 2015 Giro del Trentino

Damiano Cunego

Time trialing in stage 14 of the 2015 Giro d'Italia

Damiano Cunego

Damiano Cunego climbing in the 2015 Tour of Lombardy

Damiano Cunego

After the fifth stage of the 2016 Giro d'Italia Cunego found himself in the King of the Mountain's blue jersey.

Damiano Cunego

Before the start of the 2016 Giro di Lombardia Cunego signs autographs for some young fans.

Damiano Cunego

Damiano Cunego in a late-afternoon time trial at the 2018 Tour of Provence.

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