Brave effort of Jungels in Giro d’Italia stage 13
On the toughest stage of the race so far, the Luxembourger put on a great all-round performance which underlined again his huge potential.
Montemaggiore, Crai, Cima Porzus and Valle were the four categorized climbs on Friday's Giro d'Italia stage (Palmanova – Cividale del Friuli, 170 kilometers), but things exploded long before the race hit the foot of the first ascent, when 30 riders snapped the elastic to go in the massive escape that was in the spotlight during this first real mountain test of this edition. Despite the maximum gap not exceeding four minutes, the winner of the stage came from that group, and his name was Mikel Nieve (Team Sky), who soloed to the line ahead of Giovanni Visconti (Movistar).
As on the previous days, Etixx – Quick-Step came to the front of the peloton right after the flag dropped, setting the pace and protecting race leader Bob Jungels, who was wearing the pink jersey for the third stage in a row. The team kept the escape on a leash and rode hard when it mattered, in order to bring back Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), who was up the road at one point and was threatening Bob's top place in the standings.
Cima Porzus, the third ascent of the stage, signaled the start of the action in the bunch, as Astana moved to the head of the affairs and upped the pace, shaking off many riders on the 10% slopes. Despite the combined efforts of Astana and Movistar, Bob managed to stay there and tackle the final test of the day with the other contenders. Then, Vincenzo Nibali attacked and only a handful of riders responded, while the 23-year-old Luxembourger, although distanced, didn't give up, fought hard, paced himself over the top of the climb and started a wild chase behind the GC men.
On the fast descent, Bob pushed the pedal to the metal and made contact with numerous riders who were ahead, before being joined by Gianluca Brambilla, who put on another superb and valiant performance to help his teammate, just as he did on stage 10, when Jungels moved into the pink jersey. Together, they clawed back time in the closing kilometers, and even though they could not stop the maglia rosa slip off Bob's Jungels shoulders, they caught everyone's attention once again, proving the fantastic fighting spirit which drives Etixx – Quick-Step regardless of the race or situation.
"Everybody knew it would be a tough stage. Right from the start, a big break went and we all suffered. The team did an awesome job until Astana decided to speed it up the third climb. I was able to follow, but I suffered and on the descent I tried to recover. Then, on the last climb, I wasn't able to follow anymore, but still continued to fight, with the help of Gianluca, who came back on the downhill", said Bob Jungels, before going on to talk about his and the team's excellent run at this Giro d'Italia.
I am extremely proud to be part of Etixx – Quick-Step and enjoy such good results in what is my first Grand Tour in which I am focused on the GC.
"The days spent in the pink jersey were the most beautiful in my career, but now I’ll turn my attention to the white jersey, as I have a nice cushion in the standings. It’s going to be hard, but I’m ready to fight for it. There’s still eight stages to go and I’m sure that the team will have a lot of things to say in the upcoming days."
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele