Jungels reveals back injury has hindered start of season

LEVENS FRANCE MARCH 14 Ben Swift of United Kingdom and Team INEOS Grenadiers Sander Armee of Belgium and Team Qhubeka Assos Bob Jungels of Luxembourg and AG2R Citren Team during the 79th Paris Nice 2021 Stage 8 a 927km stage from Le PlanduVar to Levens 518m Stage itinerary redesigned due to COVID19 lockdown imposed in the city of Nice ParisNice on March 14 2021 in Levens France Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Bob Jungels at the Volta a Catalunya (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Bob Jungels has revealed how his first months at AG2R Citroën have been disrupted by a back problem.

The Luxembourger, who moved to the French squad after spending five years at Deceuninck-QuickStep, has struggled to make an impact in his races so far in 2021, but hopes to be back on form for the upcoming Ardennes Classics.

Jungels has raced Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya so far this season, finishing in 27th and 24th, respectively. In a post on his team's website, he revealed the reason for his slow start.

"After two difficult races, Paris-Nice and the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, hampered by a problem in my back, I took a week to solve this by undergoing different medical and dental exams to take stock of what was not working well," Jungels said.

"I also changed my position on the bike, and I changed cleats and shoes. I then went to Mallorca for a dozen days of training where everything went very well."

Jungels will return to racing at Wednesday's Brabantse Pijl as part of a strong AG2R squad that also includes Greg Van Avermaet, Benoît Cosnefroy and Aurelien Paret-Peintre. He'll then take on the Ardennes triple of Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

He said that he hopes his problems have been solved ahead of Brabantse Pijl, adding that he hopes to be a factor at the front of the race, which was won last year by Alpecin-Fenix's Mathieu van der Poel.

"I hope everything will go as well in the race because I’m really motivated to show myself on Wednesday at [Brabantse Pijl] and find my best sensations on the bike.

"I do not want to talk about specific objectives, I will just do everything to be at the front with the best before heading to the three Ardennes races which are important goals for me."

Jungels has won in the Ardennes before, of course, soloing to victory in Liège in 2018. He'll represent the best chance of glory for AG2R next week, along with Cosnefroy, who was forced to delay the start to his own campaign due to a knee problem.

The team hasn't enjoyed the Classics season they have hoped for this season after signing Van Avermaet to join Oliver Naesen over the winter. Van Avermaet sprinted to third at the Tour of Flanders – AG2R's highlight of the cobbled Classics – while Naesen struggled for form. Jungels, who has performed well in past cobbled campaigns, skipped the Flemish races this year.

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