Jungels moves into maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia
After what was another stage in which the team worked hard at the front, proving its fantastic spirit and unity, Bob became the first Luxembourg rider in 57 years to lead the race.
It wasn't easy on Tuesday at the Giro d'Italia, but truth being told, when is it? Everyone was expecting a hard stage 10, and they had it from the start, when the riders who wanted to go in the breakaway fired at will. The nervous opening kilometers left their mark on the peloton, many riders getting dropped early, while no less than 13 made it into the escape: Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R), Nathan Brown (Cannondale), Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF), Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Przemyslav Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF), Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin), Ivan Rovny (Tinkoff), Egor Sillin (Katusha), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Riccardo Zoidl (Trek-Segafredo).
After finding its rhythm on Passo della Collina and Pietracolora, the peloton then turned its attention to the first-category Pian del Falco, the penultimate climb on the course, which was averaging 8.9% in the final four kilometers. There, Astana and Movistar upped the pace and stage 8 winner Gianluca Brambilla was dropped from the main group, who was being trimmed with every meter. Leader in the white jersey classification, Bob Jungels stayed with the best and even went to the fore to pull after Andrey Amador, once the Costa Rican, who was sitting in third in the general classification, attacked in an attempt to seize the pink jersey.
Following a daredevil descent, Gianluca made the junction on the first slopes of the last climb and navigated through the field, moving to the front and putting in the yards in order to help Bob close the gap to Amador, who was 50 seconds up the road at that point. The grit, determination and selfless effort of the maglia rosa wearer made the difference, as the group lost just a handful of seconds to the Movistar rider, finishing the stage around two minutes behind Giulio Ciccone, the day's winner.
The hard work of Gianluca Brambilla meant that the pink jersey remained within the team, moving on the shoulders of Bob Jungels, who became the first Luxembourg rider in 57 years to lead the Giro d'Italia. Until Tuesday, May 17, only Charly Gaul got to don the maglia rosa in the Corsa Rosa, the last time he managed this feat being in 1959. The similarities don't stop here, as both Bob and Gaul were 23-year-old in their maiden Giro d'Italia, when they topped the general classification.
At the end of the stage which took the peloton from Campi Bisenzio to Sestola, Bob – who's in his first season with Etixx – Quick-Step – had only words of praise for his teammates: "The guys gave 100% today to keep this jersey, and I owe it to them, because without their help and strength it wouldn't have been possible to still have the maglia rosa this evening. Etixx – Quick-Step is a special team, and you could see that once again today. It's not often that the rider in the pink jersey works for a teammate and Brambi was fantastic today, so hats off to him."
Besides the maglia rosa, Bob also holds the white jersey, for being the best young rider in the race, and all these will make out of Wednesday's stage (Modena – Asolo, 227 kilometers) an even more special one: "I still can't believe what has just happened. It's definitely one of the best moments of my life and a great day not only for me, but also for the team and for Luxembourg. I want to dedicate this pink jersey to the entire team, it's a dream to have it. I hope to keep it for as long as possible, but it will also depend on our opponents. What I know is that we'll continue to fight hard at this race."
"I was put in difficulty by Astana on Pian del Falco and decided to pace myself once I got dropped. I was aware that I could come back on the descent and went full gas there. After rejoining the pack and finding out that Amador got away, I wanted to stay at the front and sacrifice myself for the team and ride for Bob. The whole team worked really hard for us and gave everything in the past days and I did this for them. I'm a little bit sad not to wear the pink jersey in my home region, but I'm very happy that the maglia rosa is still in the team and seeing Bob in the maglia rosa is a real pleasure", concluded Gianluca Brambilla, one of the heroes of the day and of the entire Giro d'Italia.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele