Giro d’Italia: Bob Jungels claims maglia rosa on Mount Etna
The Luxembourger arrived with the main group at the finish of the tough stage 4 and climbed to the top of the general classification.
On Mount Etna's 50th anniversary in the Giro d'Italia, Bob Jungels rode himself into the maglia rosa, which he sported for three days at the previous edition, taking the jersey from the shoulders of teammate Fernando Gaviria, who pulled at the front of the peloton and set the tempo ahead of the day's final climb, thus repaying the team for their work on Sunday, when he sprinted to his maiden Grand Tour victory.
Jungels, who won the white jersey at the 2016 edition of the Corsa Rosa, rolled over the line together with the other GC contenders, on a stage made difficult by the headwind which blew hard in the closing kilometers of the iconic ascent in southern Italy, making the attacks of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) or Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) futile.
In the final kilometers of the 17.9km-long climb which impressed with its lunar landscapes, the favourites stayed together and arrived half a minute behind Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), who won from the original four-man break of the stage. Thanks to the seconds on the road snatched two days ago, when Quick-Step Floors split the peloton in the crosswinds, Bob (seventh on Mount Etna) moved into the maglia rosa, which he'll wear for the fourth time in his career.
"I feel pretty much the same like last year, when I also took the jersey from a teammate. I did an intelligent race, staying focused and not riding in the headwind, which made everything super difficult today. The Giro is still long and many things will happen for sure, as all the favourites are at a good level, but I don't want to think of these things now, I just want to live the moment and this special day", said Jungels, who claimed also the white jersey, which was passed by the same Fernando Gaviria.
These weren't the only highlights of the day for Quick-Step Floors, who rode at the front of the bunch from kilometer zero until the bottom of Etna; the squad's impressive effort garnered another trip to the podium, to receive the Fast Team and Super Team prizes.
One of the only two Luxembourgers to lead the Giro d'Italia standings since the race was created back in 1909, Bob has conquered the maglia rosa at the age of 23 and 24, just as countryman Charly Gaul, and will now carry it into Wednesday's stage, which will present the sprinters with another opportunity.
"I'm progressing with each year, I am motivated to do well and I'm also very happy of having such a strong team around, a team which protects me all the time. I am overwhelmed to wear again the pink jersey. The race is already a success for us and everything else that will come in the next stages between now and Milan will be a bonus", concluded Bob.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele