Riding his first Grand Tour, Trek Factory Racing's Bob Jungels booked himself a podium visit at the end of the Vuelta a España's stage 17 as the day's most combative rider, having animated the breakaway.
After the finish in A Coruña, Jungels explained that he started the stage with the ambition of making the break.
"It was the plan this morning that I'd break away," said Jungels who crossed the line in 86th place after he was caught in the closing kilometers.
Joining Jungels in the five-man breakaway was Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida), Rohan Dennis (BMC), Luis Mas (Caja Rural) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) with the peloton allowing them a maximum of just over four minutes.
With John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) proving himself to be the fastest man in the bunch, it appeared the stage could be suited to a breakaway succeeding with no impetus for the sprinters teams to chase and then watch Degenkolb sail past for another win.
The Luxembourger added that when he heard there was cooperation in the bunch to bring back the leaders on the road for a sprint finish, he sensed it would be a hard day of racing.
"We rode well at the front, but when I heard that OPQS was coming in help to Giant at the head of the peloton with 67km to go, I realised it'd be hard to stay away," he said.
Jungels started the three-week race nursing several wounds but said he was feeling better and better as the Vuelta went on.
"I'm happy to finish my first Grand Tour this way because I've encountered a lot of problems," he said. "The big crash before the team time trial made me suffer during the whole first week. Then I had a saddle sore. Now I'm ok even though I can feel the fatigue."
The 21-year-old's next engagements will be the World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain later this month.
"I'll do the three world championships after the Vuelta: the TTT with Trek Factory Racing, the ITT and the road race with Fränk Schleck and Ben Gastauer in the Luxembourger team."
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