Young Jungels looks a lot like Wiggins
CASSANO D’ADDA, Italy (VN) — Bob Jungels plans to stay the same powerful time trial rider and climber in the coming years, which he says could be enough for the grand tours.
Jungels led home the Giro d’Italia stars in the 40.5-kilometer Chianti time trial last Sunday and took over the pink jersey as race leader on the uphill finish to Sestola two days later. The mix of time trial and climbing speed suits the 23-year-old Luxembourger well.
“I think it’s impossible to change your body, it’s how you are,” Jungels said. “I have a lot of muscles, but that’s also my strength. If there was a flat time trial of 50 kilometers in the last week here, I’d be lucky. Now we have mountains, and I’m trying to defend myself.
“Like Bradley Wiggins? Yeah. It depends on the perspective you have. This Giro, with the three time trials, definitely helped me, but of course now in the mountains, I’m defending myself quiet well, and that’s how I want to continue in the future.”
Wiggins lost weight and improved his climbing with altitude camps before winning the 2012 Tour de France, which suited him perfectly with two long time trials totaling 100 kilometers.
Jungels still has years ahead of him to develop, but took a big step in the Giro. He let slip the pink jersey, but wears the white jersey of best young rider comfortably. He sits seventh overall in the general classification, 7:57 behind leader Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL – Jumbo), and holds the white jersey by 14:17 over Sebastian Henao (Sky).
He weights around 155 pounds (70-71kg) so he must push harder to cover the passes, but can power through time trial stages. In February, he won the overall of the Etoile de Bessèges thanks to a time trial stage win on the final day of the French race.
In the final stages of the Giro, he faces some of the race’s hardest stages. Stage 19 covers the 21.3-kilometer climb up the Colle dell’Agnello to 2,744 meters (9,003 feet) before the final climb to Risoul on Friday. He will test himself to see what is possible for the coming years.
“The Giro’s been a surprise for me, as well. I kind of came here with a classification ambition, but I didn’t know how far I could go. Obviously, I’m really surprised, I’ve seen my strengths and weaknesses over the last weeks. It’s been a really good Giro for me because I’ve learnt many things,” Jungels explained.
“What happens next depends a little on the team’s ambition, but it’s going to be the same program more or less. Maybe it won’t be the Giro, maybe it’ll be the Vuelta a España or the Tour de France, but for the rest, I’m still competitive in the one-week stage races. I have to pick the targets with the team and figure out what’s best for me.”