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Bob Jungels: ‘Tour de France yellow is a dream, but also a goal'

Joe Robinson
10 Jan 2018

Jungels will go to the Tour looking to confirm his name as a General Classification threat

After two consecutive top-10 finishes at the Giro d’Italia, Quick-Step Floors rider Bob Jungels will turn his attention to the Tour de France in 2018 on his next step towards Grand Tour success.

‘I will take on the General Classification battle and try to confirm my performances from the last two Giros. It’s hard to say a specific result now but it would be great to confirm my ability in Paris,’ said Jungels.

‘Yellow is a dream but also a goal. If you don’t reach for the top it doesn’t make sense. Everything I do is for a reason.’

Jungels compares himself to a puzzle when discussing his transformation towards becoming a genuine General Classification threat over three weeks.

So far, the 25-year-old has managed to finish within the top 10 of two consecutive Giros, taken a white young rider's jersey and had a stint in the pink leader’s jersey.

He also took a stage win into Bergamo in 2017, outsprinting his climbing rivals.

This year’s puzzle will be the Tour and the Luxemburger, who will try a different approach in preparation for France, believes he has already made steps towards putting together the pieces.

‘I see each year’s objective as a puzzle and it is my job to build the pieces through Winter and the early season, taking lots of steps before getting to Paris,’ he said.

‘For this year, I am going to South Africa to train at altitude which is different, the first time I have used altitude and a nice way to combine sightseeing with training, and then to Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya and the Ardennes Classics before the Tour.’

Another piece in this puzzle, undoubtedly, will be the team that surrounds Jungels at the Tour de France. With Fernando Gaviria’s presence confirmed, team duties will be split between these two riders as they chase their own goals.

Beyond these two team leaders, if Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert are selected, it is hard to envisage them not chasing personal stage ambitions.

However, Jungels was quick to turn this to a positive suggesting that having so many riders capable of personal success acts as a threat to rival teams.

‘We will go to the Tour fighting on two fronts with Gaviria but even guys like Iljo Kiesse and Max Richeze [Gaviria’s leadout riders] can help me with positioning in the bunch.

'Then you add guys like Gilbert, Alaphilippe, Niki Terpstra or Yves Lampaert and you have a very strong team especially with this interesting start to the Tour.’

He continued his look ahead, saying, ‘With the possibility of crosswinds, a team time trial and cobbles, in a perfect scenario, these are obstacles I could take an advantage on my rivals on and that’s the approach I will have.

‘The strength of this team is that we can treat each stage of a stage race as we would a one-day race and we have the guys to take advantage of this situation.'

Jungels will be encouraged by natural rouleurs tasting success at Grand Tours, specifically Tom Dumoulin at the Giro d'Italia, but admits a lot of work and shedding of some kilograms is needed before emulating the Dutchman. 

The Luxembourg national road champion also appreciates that only a hand full of riders actually ever go on to taste Grand Tour victory so other goals are necessary.

To win a ‘beautiful race’ like the Tour de Suisse or Tirreno is also on the radar as well as forming part of a three-pronged attack with Alaphilippe and Gilbert for the Belgian WorldTour team at the Ardennes Classics.

‘Attack is the best form of defence so having three cards to play is better than one. We have been in this situation before.

'You have to name a team leader but everyone gets their chance. For example, if Laurens De Plus was in the winning break at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and wins, then we are happy.

‘One thing, for sure however, is that there is a big difference between one-day racing and stage racing. If I took the risks I do in one-day races, like I did at Flèche Wallonne in 2017 attacking far from the finish, then in the Tour I will have no chance.'