Jungels: Confidence is high - I hope I can unleash it at Flanders

Some riders spend years trying to make it to the top of the Deceuninck-QuickStep hierarchy but Bob Jungels has stormed straight to the front of the line.

The Luxembourg champion is a winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège but this spring he has been deployed in the cobbled classics of northern Belgium for the first time in his career. After just five races, he’s being talked about as the leading light for Patrick Lefevere’s team at the Tour of Flanders. None other than Tom Boonen, QuickStep legend and three-time winner of De Ronde, has named the 26-year-old as his favourite for Sunday.

"I’m very honoured of course to be named among the favourites, but, in the end, it will be the race that shows who crosses line first and then the whole week of speculation is over.”

The Luxembourg national champion was 16th at Omloop Het Niuewsblad, where his teammate Zdenek Stybar won, and he claimed victory the following day at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne with a long solo attack. At E3 BinckBank last Friday he placed fifth but his long-range solo attack effectively handed victory on a plate to Stybar. Jungels didn’t ride Gent-Wevelgem but made the decisive selection at Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday and finished third.

The team leadership question

After victory at Omloop and E3, many see Stybar – who, unlike Jungels, has waited quietly in the wings at Deceuninck-QuickStep before seizing his chances this spring – as an equal, if not bigger, favourite. Then there’s the small matter of 2017 Tour of Flanders winner Philippe Gilbert and Belgian champion Yves Lampaert.

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