Bob Jungels (Luxembourg) believes that there are a number of potential contenders for this Sunday’s World Championships road race but singled out his trade teammate Julian Alaphilippe and Spain’s Alejandro Valverde as the favourites. Already a world champion in the team time trial on Sunday, Jungels will be hoping to add another medal to his collection this weekend.
“I think there are plenty of [favourites]. I think the guys from the Vuelta will have a fair chance. Alaphilippe and Valverde will for sure be among the favourites,” said Jungels.” I think I’ll have to follow until the final and then we will have to see how the race is unfolding and how I feel in that final. If there is a chance at the end, I will try to take it for sure.”
The 2018 season has been a successful one for Jungels with victory in Liege-Bastogne-Liege in April followed by double national titles in the time trial and road race. He finished a solid 11th overall at the Tour de France and took sixth in the penultimate day time trial. Earlier this month, he helped support Alaphilippe to win the overall title at the Tour of Britain, putting in a bruising performance on stage 6 to Whinlatter Pass.
Jungels carried his good form into the World Championships and was part of the Quick-Step Floors team that took the team time trial world title, his second in the discipline after also being a part of the team’s title ride-winning in 2016. However, his switch to national colours didn’t go to plan and he finished a lowly 23rd in the individual time trial almost five minutes behind the winner Rohan Dennis (Australia).
“To be honest, I didn’t feel really good from the start. I don’t know why, I just didn’t have power in the legs,” he said. “I had been feeling pretty good. Two days ago, I had a pretty good performance in the team time trial so the shape is there, but I don’t know yet what happened. I think everybody did the team time trial, so I don’t think that is the reason.”
Jungels will have to hope that the time trial was just a one-off and he can be back on top form, come Sunday. The Luxembourg rider, who has five teammates to support him, is expecting the bigger teams to make it challenging well before the already infamous Hell Climb.
“I think it is not only the last climb the whole course is hard. I think that the big teams will control of the race,” said Jungels. “It’s going to be a seven-hour race so it’s kind of a special race really. It is a super hard course, I have to see a little bit how it goes on Sunday. Right now, I have to recover from today first.”