Jungels had lost the maglia rosa on stage 13 and proceeded to lose more time on the Passo Giau – the hardest ascent of Saturday's stage. He finished 21st on the stage, 6:21 down on winner Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and slipped from second to 12th overall, 6:10 down on new race leader, Steven Kruijswijk (Team LottoNl-Jumbo).
"I didn't feel too bad until they really went full gas on Giau, which was really hard. I remembered that climb since going over it in the U23 ranks and since then I noticed how harsh it is. I am content with giving it all today, on a day for the real climbers," Jungels said at the finish.
Jungels came into the Giro as an outside prospect for the top-ten but raced consistently in the opening ten days. He pulled on pink and even extended his advantage over several rivals with a daring attack on stage 11. However he came unstuck on stage 13 to Cividale del Friuli.
"I've never done more than 5000 altitude meters in a race, maybe in training, but that was all. At the end of the day, it was a good experience, which helped me find out how far I can push my body in a Grand Tour when things become really tough.
"I saw today that I can push it really far and I learned a lot about the way a race goes and how prepared you have to be from a mental point of view to take on such a stage. Now we'll just see how we will continue in the next days."
Jungels has a fight on his hands for the white jersey, though. On stage 14 he put further time into rival Davide Formolo (Cannondale) who lost over 27 minutes. However Sebastian Henao (Team Sky) finished the stage ahead of the Etixx-QuickStep rider and as a result has moved up to second in the standings, 11:02 in arrears.