By: Annie Huang
On Sunday, July 10th 2022, Bob Jungels won the ninth stage of the Tour de France at the end of a long solo mountain raid on Sunday after COVID-19 almost prevented the Luxemburg rider from starting the race last week.
Bob Jungels is 29-years-old and a Luxembourg native. He rides for the AG2R Citroen Team, and sets a record on his own with almost 40 miles remaining of the mountainous 120 ski resort at Chatel les Portes du Soleil.
The AG2R Citroen rider tested positive just before the event began at Copenhagen last Thursday, but he was cleared to take part after a panel of doctors ruled his viral load was low enough for him to ride.
“I had a test on the Thursday morning. But with the result you could see that I could start the race on Friday. It was very very close I believe,” Jungels said, the first rider from Luxemburg to win on the Tour since Andy Schleck claimed victory at the Galibier in 2011.
“Luckily I made it,” he added.
Jungels prevailed from the day’s breakaway in heat of the Alps after resisting a fierce chase by France’s Thibaut Pinot, from Aigle, Switzerland who surrendered in the final kilometers and finished fourth after 192.9 km.
Jonathan Castroviejo took second place 22 seconds behind Jungels with fellow Spaniard Carlos Verona ending up four seconds adrift in third place.
The breakaway took shape after a rapid start near the headquarters of the International Cycling Union, (UCI).
Jungels’ lead was up to 2:10 when Pinot produced a brutal acceleration in pursuit of the Luxemburg rider nine kilometers from the top of the Pas de Morgins, a 15.4-km ascent at an average gradient of 6.1%.
Pinot, was a Groupama-FDJ rider who came agonizingly close to winning the Tour in 2019 but was forced out due to an injury two days before the last stage. The road was narrowed and the gap was 19 seconds, but when the road became flatter, Pinot started to lose time on Jungels again, allowing him to take the lead.
It was a spectacular victory for Bob Jungels, who missed both the Tour and the Olympics last year to undergo surgery on an injury that had affected his career for a couple of years.
“It’s hard to say what I feel right now. I’m just overwhelmed to be honest. After a couple of years struggling, a very tough last ye take the victory this way, it’s my style of racing, my style of taking the victory, so I’m super happy, I saw the shape was getting better day by day,” Jungels told reporters.
“It took me so long to come back after the surgery. This victory proves all those who doubted me wrong but I mostly grateful. It’s a lot of emotions,” He added.