Damiano Cunego (born September 19, 1981 in Cerro Veronese, Veneto) is an Italian professional road bicycle racer. He rides for the Italian UCI ProTeam Lampre. Primarily a climber, he has improved his time-trialing performance and is a general classification contender for the stage races.
During the 2004 season he went on to win the Giro di Lombardia UCI Road World Cup race in October, his thirteenth victory of the season. He finished the season ranked number one in the UCI Road World Rankings, making him the youngest rider ever to achieve this, aged just 23. He was also the last rider ranked first on the world ranking, because as of the 2005 season the world ranking was replaced by the UCI ProTour.
In the 2005 Giro d'Italia, Simoni and Cunego were co-captains of the Lampre-Caffita team. As it happened, however, Cunego posed no threat to Simoni. He faltered badly during the first serious climb in the Dolomites, losing six minutes in the day and any prospect of winning the general classification. At the time his team attributed his loss to a "psychological crisis" and Cunego himself said that "a great weight has been lifted from me by this defeat." After the race, however, he was found to have an acute infection of Epstein-Barr virus which might have accounted for his weakness. He did not enter the 2005 Tour de France as he had planned.
In 2006, after an uneventful start to the season, Cunego finished in third on the 2006 edition of the prestigious Liège-Bastogne-Liège cycling classic losing to Alejandro Valverde and Paolo Bettini in a sprint finish. In his first Tour de France, Cunego captured the maillot blanc (or white jersey) in the Best Young Rider classification at the 2006 Tour de France from Markus Fothen on the last time-trial stage. He finished 2nd on stage 15 to L'Alpe D'Huez, after losing to Fränk Schleck, who broke away in the final 2 km. He also finished 3rd on stage 17, on the road to Morzine. He won his second Giro di Lombardia in 2007. In 2008 Cunego won the Amstel Gold Race and he finished second at Road Race World Championships.