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Cunego claims second stage victory


Damiano Cunego
Cunego's stage win followed victory in the Tour of Trentino.
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PONTREMOLI, Italy -- Damiano Cunego has won the second stage of the Giro d'Italia from Novi Ligure to Pontremoli.

The Italian, who rides for Saeco, edged out Australian Bradley McGee and Cristian Moreni in a sprint finish after a group of about 35 riders moved clear on the final climb of the hilly 184-km stage.

Thanks to a 12-second time bonus for finishing second in the stage, McGee took back the race lead and pulled on the special pink jersey.

McGee won the prologue time trial on Saturday, but slipped to second behind Germany's Olaf Pollock by just two seconds after Sunday's first stage.

He now leads Yaroslav Popovych of Ukraine by 32 seconds after Pollack finished more than two minutes behind the leading group.

Growing reputation

Cunego's victory added to the 22-year-old's growing reputation as he had come into the race on the back of winning the Tour of Trentino, including two stage victories, and triumphing in the Tour of the Apennines and the Larciano Grand Prix.

"I only just did it," gasped the 1999 junior world champion, who is competing in his second Tour of Italy.

"I could have lost in the last few metres as McGee was very close," added Cunego, who has so impressed his Saeco team that he signed a new two-year contract prior to the Tour which keeps him there till 2006.


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