Damiano Cunego hospitalised after contracting serious brain infection

The Giro d’Italia winner will need a long spell of hospital treatment

(Image credit: Corbis via Getty Images)

Damiano Cunego has been hospitalised with a serious brain infection.

The retired Italian star has spent the week in hospital after contracting an infection in the cerebral ventricle, one of the communicating cavities in the brain.

Cunego, winner of the 2004 Giro d’Italia, says he will need a long period of treatment to recover from the infection, but says he hopes to be back on the bike soon.

In an Instagram post shared on Monday (June 15), the 38-year-old said: “After a long week in hospital i decided to post my first smiling photo.

I had an infection in the cerebral ventricle that at the moment stopped me from my activities.

“Fortunately everything will be fine but I need a long period of therapy in hospital and return to the best Damiano ever.

“I will be back soon...on the bike obviously.”

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A photo posted by on

Cunego thanked hospital staff in Verona for his treatment and said he will have to take antibiotics for the next month before he can return to full health.

A star of Italian cycling in the early 2000s, Cunego boast three victories in Il Lombardia, an Amstel Gold Race title and top-10s in the Tour de France overall.

After riding for Saeco and Lampre-Merida, Cunego stepped down to Pro Continental level with Nippo-Vini Fantini in 2015, where he saw out the rest of his career before retiring in 2018.

Cunego thanked hospital staff in Verona for his treatment and said he will have to take antibiotics for the next month before he can return to full health.

When he retired aged 36, Cunego was bitter after being denied one final Giro d’Italia ride as Nippo were not selected for a wildcard spot.

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Instead he closed out his career with Tirreno-Adriatico, Amstel Gold, the Tour of the Alps and his final race day, the Italian National Championships.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.