Aggressive ride sees Jungels climb in Giro d’Italia GC
The third week of the Corsa Rosa got underway with a crazy and fiery stage, and our rider was right in the thick of the action.
Just 132 kilometers and three categorized climbs were on the menu on Tuesday, when the Giro d'Italia exploded from the very first kilometer, as many riders tried to put pressure on overall leader Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo). Among those wasn't David De La Cruz, who unfortunately was forced to abandon after suffering from high fever overnight, but Etixx – Quick-Step was still very active, in the beginning with Matteo Trentin and Gianluca Brambilla, who made it into the first escape of the day, and later with Bob Jungels, who was determined to leave his mark over the stage.
On the first climb, the 14.8-km long Passo della Mendola, a plethora of attacks brought the race to life, all the GC contenders trying their luck at least once. With the status quo becoming a strange notion to the riders, it was everyone for himself, and Bob attacked with a few kilometers to go till the top, taking a handful of seconds over the maglia rosa group. Before cresting the ascent, the Etixx – Quick-Step rider was joined by several opponents, including Steven Kruijswijk, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), and that group opened a maximum gap of 45 seconds on chasers Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff).
On the descent and the rolling terrain leading to the tough Fai della Paganella, the main group managed to keep the advantage and stay together until Valverde launched an offensive to which only Zakarin and Kruijswijk reacted. Despite not making the catch, Jungels put on an strong and impressive ride at the head of the chasing group, setting a relentless pace for more than three kilometers, thanks to which the leaders weren't allowed to take more than 40 seconds.
While at the front Alejandro Valverde notched the win after outsprinting Steven Kruijswijk, Chaves joined Bob and even tried to forge a gap, but the young Luxembourger responded immediately and brought back the Colombian climber, while at the same time distancing Vincenzo Nibali. In the final 500 meters, despite putting everything on the line up until that point, the 23-year-old still had enough to sprint to fifth and gain a place in the general classification, jumping to seventh.
As usual, the stage that came after the rest day was packed with fireworks and we were prepared for that.
"On the first climb I tried to ride my own tempo and don't get caught off guard. I felt good throughout the day, and to be honest, I'm happy with the way the race went and with the outcome", said Bob at the arrival in Andalo, where his exceptionally strong ride helped him reinforce his position in the white jersey classification. "I now have an even bigger advantage over the next rider in the U25 standings, but the Giro d'Italia is still long. Today I stayed with the best and I hope to keep the momentum over the next couple of stages left until Turin."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele