Rider of the week
Less than two weeks ago, in an interview for Cafe Roubaix, Dirk Demol was confident Bob Jungels can be the revelation of Trek Factory Racing in 2015. The young Luxembourg rider was starting his third season in the World Tour and the expectations surrounding him were high, after 2014 was a year in which he missed a win, although he was consistent in the stage races he rode, with some strong results in Paris-Nice, Criterium International and the Tour of Austria, and two top 10 placings in Vuelta a España, where me made his Grand Tour debut.
In 2015, Jungels decided to start his account in the Étoile de Bessèges, a race which was won in the past by riders like Eddy Planckaert, Adrie Van Der Poel, or Jean Paul van Poppel. Being his first appointment of the year, there were some questions regarding his form, but these found an answer fast, in Les Fumades – stage finish for the second stage – where he came home third. That result brought him a much needed level of confidence, but also four bonification seconds, which could have proven to be decisive at the end of the race.
Fortunately for the Trek Factory Racing cyclist, it wasn’t the case, because he made his life easy in the last day, with an excellent ride in the 11,9 kilometers time trial that took place in Alès. Having a 29 seconds deficit on GC leader Edward Theuns, Bob Jungels put on a fine and fast display – even on the punishing three kilometer climb to the finish – which helped him claim the fifth stage and the overall classification, nine seconds ahead of his former teammate Tony Gallopin. By doing this, Jungels became the first Luxembourg rider to win the Étoile de Bessèges in almost half of century since the inception of the race.
Just 22-year-old, Bob Jungels scored his team’s first victories in 2015 and looks poised to have a great season, which should bring him a couple of more wins, as well as a contract extension with Trek Factory Racing. His next stop will be Ruta del Sol, where the former winner of the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux will tune-up his form before Paris-Nice, the first major goal of the year. There, with two time trials and a couple of hilly stages, there’s a good possibility that Bob Jungels will get his first World Tour win.