Bob Jungels put in his best time trial since winning the Luxembourg national title against the clock last June by riding to third place on stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia. The 'wine' trial, held in the Montefalco vineyards saw Tom Dumoulin stamp his authority on the race and fight for pink while Jungels put one hand on the best young rider's white jersey and inserted himself back into the battle for the podium.
Jungels moved into the maglia rosa following Stage 4's ascension of Mount Etna and held the pink jersey until Sunday's testing climb of Blockhaus. He also conceded the white jersey to Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac) but his strong time trial has the Quick-Step Floors rider back in a strong overall position.
"It was a really hard time trial. Yesterday, when we did the recon, it wasn't so windy, so I had to take also this into account. It was tempting to go very fast from the start, but that would have meant to lose time by the end. I managed to do a good race and I'm happy to be on the podium, it's a fantastic feeling," said Jungels.
Jungels now sits sixth overall, 3:56 minutes behind Dumoulin and 2:23 minutes ahead of Formolo in the young rider classification.
While Dumoulin was commanding in his 49-second victory over Geraint Thomas (Team Sky), Jungels explained he was pleased to have covered the Foligno to Montefalco 39.8km course just seven seconds slower than the Welshman.
"We have to admit that Tom Dumoulin is another level at the moment," said the 24-year-old. "I am super happy for him. He is doing a great job, and I just hope to get back step-by-step."
Jungels had a breakout Giro in 2016, wearing the maglia rosa, finishing six overall and winning the best young rider jersey. After ten stages, Jungels is on track to match his performance from last year but isn't expecting any gifts in the second and third weeks of racing.
"Some riders had a quite a bad day on Blockahus, as I also had not really my best day and now I think it is getting interesting after this time trial," said Jungels about the battle for the GC. "A lot of riders have to react, so I think it will be hard racing now and we have to see how it unfolds. I expect some pretty hard stages."
Conceding that the climbers such as Nairo Quintana, Thibaut Pinot and Vincenzo Nibali will take time in the mountains, Jungels is looking to the final stage Monza to Milan time trial as an opportunity to consolidate his ambition of top-ten overall.
"As I said before the Giro already, I am coming here for a top-ten," Jungels said. "When you look at the contenders who are in the top-ten at the moment, there are much stronger climbers than me but I am in sixth place, and I hope to hold it."
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