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by Shane Stokes
November 17, 2017
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Thirteen years after he won the Giro d’Italia, Damiano Cunego has said that he would like to say goodbye to professional cycling at the same race. The Italian rider announced his plans to retire on Thursday, telling La Gazzetta dello Sport that his ideal scenario would be to make his swansong at the race which was his biggest success.
“With the passing of time, I know that cycling runs at an ever-increasing level,” he said. “And I do not feel so competitive anymore. In short, it is time to stop and I would like to do it at the Giro, where in a sense everything started.”
However that is far from guaranteed: he has had few results of note in recent years, and his Nippo – Vini Fantini team would require a wildcard to be invited. He knows that he may have to make alternative plans. “I did not think about where to end the career if the invite to the Giro doesn’t come. Maybe it might be in Japan. But for now I want to only focus on this perspective of the Giro, and I hope it will come true.”
Cunego won the Japan Cup road race twice, and so has a connection to that country. Aside from his Giro win plus four stages, his biggest victories include three wins in Il Lombardia, the Amstel Gold Race and two stages of the Vuelta.