Monday, November 15, 2010

Damiano Cunego: Fan Club, Gran Fondo, and Training for New Season

One of the interesting aspects of the Italian cycling culture is the existence of fan clubs for professional riders. Just about every pro cyclist in Italy has one. At the end of the cycling season the clubs typically have a dinner party or luncheon to celebrate their rider. Cunego's fan club luncheon took place on November 7th:

Italian professional riders also get closer to their fans by sponsoring a granfondo or participating in cycling events that gives their fans an opprtunity to ride with them (not that that is always easy to do in reality). Cunego sponsors the Gran Fondo Damiano Cunego that is held in Verona each year. The date for next year is June, 5, 2011. More details in an upcoming story.

The cycle of getting ready for a new season has already begun for Cunego according to this interview at Lampre:

Lampre: Your 2010 season ended early than your past seasons, in relation to this did you begin your training earlier after the winter break?
Cunego: "In effect my last race in 2010 was Giro di Toscana that took place on 26 September while usually my last appointment was the Giro di Lombardia. So, now I find myself already pedaling since I began trainings in the early days of November."

What did you do during the pause?
"I rest in a complete way for some days, dedicating all my attention to my family: this year, in addition to my daughter Ludovica, there is my son Cristian too, who was born in August. There's nothing better than spending time with your family after a long season during which you travel all around the world."

No sport?
"In the early weeks I keep the contact with sport by attending some rallys as a fan and then driving karts. Then, I began to perform light exercises such running, swimming and workouts at a gym. I think the gym is very useful: I performed balance exercises and exercises for back and shoulder."

What kind of sensations did you feel on your first training ride?
"As it happens every year, the first time I ride my bike after the winter break I feel like I had never been a cyclist: the bike seems to be something strange for my body, my back is rigid and my legs are hard. But this is a feeling that passes away soon and in the next training session the bike becomes my best friend again."

What kind of training have you performed until now?
"Simple training of 2 or 3 hours, very useful for improving stamina. No specific exercises".

- How did you protect yourself from the cold during training?
"This year the cold has not yet been severe so I could simply wear short pants with leggings, a long sleeve jersey, gloves and, of course, helmet."

During the party of your fans club, that took place on 7 November, many supporters asked you info about your training and your relationship with Centro Mapei: what did you answered?
"To all my fans I explained that I'm performing the usual training that is useful for starting to pedal again after the winter break. I added that this year I had the outstanding chance to perform tests in the Centro Mapei and to be supported by those in charge of the Centro. This was very useful in order for me to start to think about the next season in a precise and winning way. Of course it's a great pleasure for me that so many fans keep asking me information about my activities and I asked them request them to keep on letting me know their opinions."

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  1. Its charming that Italian pro cyclists can have a fan club where they can actually meet with fans over a meal. Could you imagine something like that for a Tom Brady or Payton Manning? I can't...

  2. We like Damiano! We're hoping "Il Principino Veronese" can get back to winning ways in 2011. We loved to hear Auro Bulbarelli say that during RAI race broadcasts. New-boy Pancani does well but Davide Cassani's commentary is needed more than ever -- it'll be a sad day when Davide turns off his microphone for the last time.