The Luxembourger rode into the maglia rosa at the Giro d'Italia on stage 10, with his team unsurprised by his showing in the mountain stages
Jungels moved from 14th to second overall, just one second from the overall lead after the Chianti time trial on Sunday.
On Tuesday, after the rest day, he took the pink jersey by staying with the overall favourites when teammate and former leader Gianluca Brambilla faded. The 23-year-old became the first rider from Luxembourg to wear the leader’s jersey since Charly Gaul in 1959.
“He will be a stage racer,” Etixx-Quick Step sports director, Davide Bramati said. “He’s already done well in the small stage races, he placed third in Tirreno-Adriatico even if they cancelled the climb.
“Yes, why not become a Grand Tour cyclist?! He can do the Giro and the Grand Tours in the future, he’s here to learn for the upcoming Grand Tours.”
Jungels recorded the best time from the afternoon favourites who rode in the rainstorms on Sunday and moved up the overall. The idea is that he could keep his time trial skills and improve his climbing to win a Grand Tour one day.
Up ahead in this Grand Tour, with still half the race to come, Jungels will face the unknown: climbs over the Alpine passes from the Dolomites in the east to those near the French border.
Likely on Saturday, the favourites like 2013 winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) will displace him. That could change in coming years, however.
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“I’m not that experienced, I don’t know how far I can go,” said Jungels. “I’ll try to follow the stars and keep the jersey as long as I can. Before I started the Giro, I knew I could go for the young rider’s jersey. Life is strange, now, I’m in the pink jersey.
“I put the pressure on myself. I’m ambitious. I have to stay calm and not dream too big. Racing for the overall is definitely something I want to do in the future. I need to see how I can improve in the high mountains.”