Lampre riders go to the aid of leader, Damiano Cunego. The long march is on as all will limp in within the time limit, 20 minutes down!
Great teamwork comes in many forms. Look at CSC-Saxon and how they kept a protective envelope around the Maillot Jaune, Carlos Sastre. The Italian Lampre team did it another way.
Team Lampre leader, Damiano Cunego (the little prince) had a terrible fall early on stage 18. Around 32 km into the race Cunego fell face first onto a concrete barricade. And with a bloodied chin proceeded back into the race escorted and protected by teammates; Righi, Tiralongo, Mori and Marzano. It was truly an heroic effort by the Lampre team riders to bring back their leader and to finish the stage within the time limit. All finished 20 minutes down. The Little Prince showed his toughness and gut it out to the finish. His teammates rode a sacrificial race shepherding the injured team leader. Cunego was a Tour contender and proved himself with victories in this years Amstel Gold and in the 2004 Giro d'Italia. Back then, he rode to win. Today, he rode to survive.
His team managers wanted him to quit but he showed his undying appreciation for his teammates by making sure that they all finish within the time limit. He crossed the line dripping blood from his chin and injuries to his chest and thorax.
A proven battleground and the Little Prince bows out ... a battered Tour hero.
At the finish with scrapes and bruises.
The Little Prince turns in an heroic ride and soon will retire from the Tour.