Perhaps the wisest advice inspector Harry Callahan — aka Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies — gave the viewing public was to say “a man has got to know his limitations.”
We don’t know the Italian translations but at the ripe old age of thirty, that wisdom has finally sunk in for Diamiano Cunego. He told Sporza that he is not riding the Giro d’Italia — a race he won at 22 –and will ride Tour de France for stage wins, not the classification.
“This year, I highlighted two events on the calendar: Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 22 and the Worlds in Valkenburg in September,” said Cunego. “I’ll skip the Olympic Games in London, because the route doesn’t suit me.”
That’s a smart move. Having seen Cunego up close at the Tour de France the last two years, we agree with the Little Prince’s assessment of where his talents are best put to use. He was usually in the front group on the big mountains in France but his impact on the race was close to zero. He finished 15th in 2011 and 29th the year before. Hardly worth the agony.
It’s addition by subtraction: take 19 stages off a grand tour and you’ve got a nice one day race. Really, there’s only one drawback to the plan — a certain guy who rides for BMC. “In the Ardennes and also in Amstel, Philippe Gilbert will have to watch me. I may be able to be one of his challengers this year. He’ll be difficult to beat, I know that. But I firmly believe in it.”
You take your pain where the payback is best. Cunego would rather try to beat Gilbert than crawl thru the Giro with little to show for the torture. And it sure isn’t a career highlight trying to hang on Andy Schleck’s wheel in the Alps and Pyrenees.
We say welcome to Liege, little guy. Good luck with Gilbert and don’t’ ask the Schlecks for any advice on beating him because they don’t have any.