Quick-Step Floors' successful 2017 Giro d'Italia went to another level on stage 21 as the Belgian team secured the best young rider classification with Bob Jungels, adding to its five stage wins, team classification and maglia ciclamino with Fernando Gaviria.
While Gaviria simply had to finish the stage to secure the maglia ciclamino, Jungels needed to overcome Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) to seal the white jersey. The Luxembourg national time trial champion finished eighth in the Monza to Milano test against the clock to overhaul Yates in the GC and young rider classification. Jungels joins Vladimir Poulnikov (1989-90) and Pavel Tonkov (1992-93) as the only other riders to have won the best young rider in consecutive years.
"The battle for the white jersey was a really nice one. We both had good stages and bad stages, and at the end of the day I am happy for prevailing and winning this classification again", said Jungels who also became the first Luxembourg rider to win a stage at the Giro in 56 years.
Although Jungels was unable to improve upon his sixth place of 2016, he explained he took great satisfaction from the team's success.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of my team, the boys were there over these weeks and helped me in achieving my goals. We finished this race with all nine riders, and this just shows the quality and depth of our team. It was a very tough Giro and to take the maglia bianca and eighth overall gives me something on which I can build in the future."
While Jungels had a tough third week to negotiate to win back the white jersey he lost to Yates on stage 18, Gaviria's work was done in the first two weeks when he won four stages. The Colombian came into the race with modest expectations and explained to have won stages, the maglia ciclamino, and arrive in Milan with the fastest team was beyond his wildest dreams.
"I can't tell you what it means for me to enjoy such success in my first Grand Tour. To arrive in Milan together with this special team is something really incredible. We proved a fantastic spirit, we were always there at the front, we fought in every single moment and now we are very happy," said Gaviria. "Before the start, I was thinking of winning a stage, but to conclude the race with four victories, a stint in the pink jersey and the maglia ciclamino, which throughout history was won by some of the biggest sprinters in the world, like Cipollini, Petacchi or Cavendish, it's beyond my imagination."
While Laurens De Plus didn't feature on the podium, the Belgian suggested proved his endurance in the high mountains as he rode to 24th place on his Grand Tour.
The Belgian squad for the Tour de France will be radically different in makeup to its Giro squad with Marcel Kittel aiming to match Gaviria's four stage wins in July. Quick-Step Floors will also be backing Dan Martin in the GC with Philippe Gilbert to target stage wins,