The 50km lead-out man

The Dubai Tour
Is Bobby Jungels made of steel?

Some ride for GC, some ride to sprint or climb mountains, others are there to work. Then there’s Bobby Jungels, who is there to lead out his teammate Marcel Kittel from about 50km.

Watching Jungels is to watch a man at ease only when dragging the peloton along behind him. In stage one of the Dubai Tour he led the pack for almost the entire day. The five-man breakaway wasn’t caught by the peloton; they were caught by Jungels, who dragged everyone to them, and then beyond.

A rare shot of Bobby Jungels third wheel, and not leading the peloton
A rare shot of Bobby Jungels not leading the peloton

On Stage 2 he did the same, only separating from Kittel and the train of Quickstep teammates once they’d breached the 3km marker. Up until that point he’d been in charge, his mouth open, his arms flopped over his handlebars, like a wolfhound with its head and paws hanging over the front window of a convertible. He paid about the same attention as a dog would as he passed the break away, just part of towing Kittel to the line.

How do you describe a rider like that? The 24-year-old, in the colours of the Luxembourg champion, is no sprinter, he’s not exactly a climber, which puts him in the Puncheur category — non of which really describes the rider who, wearing a bodysuit, sets the pace for everyone for two days in a row.

Kittel went on to win the Dubai Tour, winning three of the four stages (with an elbow in the eye from Astana’s Andriy Grivko along the way). Jungels meanwhile had done his job, proving himself in that most uncomplainingly brilliant fashion that he is one of the most valuable teammates on the World Tour.

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