Luxembourger Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick- Step) celebrated what was seemingly a “mission impossible” attack to victory in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Sunday (March 3).
Jungles capped off a successful weekend for the Belgian super team, winning Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne one day after Zdenek Stybar took Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
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“I felt as if I was the strongest rider in front and with the peloton coming closer, I knew I had to try something,” Jungels told Het Nieuwsblad.
“I thought I’d started a mission impossible. With that headwind, I thought that the group would always return. But it has been two hard days for everyone, also for the boys who were chasing me. To be honest I did not expect to be the winner here today.”
After having previously given his focus to the Ardennes Classics and Grand Tours, the 26-year-old is turning to the cobbled Classics in 2019.
“This was to be an introductory weekend and now I’m winner,” he added.
“Yesterday, I was too far behind at the Molenberg and I had to chase the whole time. Today I was still too far away when I rolled up the Kwaremont, but I was able to rejoin at the front fairly quickly.”
Jungles will ride the Tour of Flanders on April 7, before taking a break and returning to Liège-Bastogne-Liège to defend his 2018 title on April 28.
“The difference here? Cobbles, or the lack of them in Liège. And of course, it’s a different route. In the Ardennes, you can pedal quietly for the first 100 kilometres, here you go from the first kilometre and something can happen anywhere. Tactically, it’s a different course,” he said.
“And of course it is another group of riders. I know it’s been a long time since someone could win in Liège and the Tour of Flanders. I hope to belong to that select group one day. Philippe Gilbert has proven that it is possible, I also want to prove that the combination is still possible.”
Jungels proved his cobble riding skills when he won the Under 23 Paris-Roubaix in 2010.
His decision to return to the cobbles and race Tour of Flanders for the first time works perfectly for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, who lost Niki Terpstra over the off-season to Direct Energie.
“It is sometimes difficult to choose. I absolutely wanted to ride these Flemish competitions because I was often good as an amateur. And yes, I still dream of winning a Grand Tour. Look at the riders of Liège-Bastogne-Liège and look at the riders of the Grand Tours. You often come across the same names.”
Jungels will race Paris-Nice this coming week for the overall classification and then return to the cobbles. After Flanders and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, he will turn his attention to the Giro d’Italia in May.