AG2R’s Bob Jungels put in THE solo effort of this year’s Tour de France so far to win Stage 9. The Luxembourger broke free of the day’s big breakaway over 60 kilometres from the finish and held off a thrilling chase from the fast charging Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) to give the Tour another feel-good story. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) took over the King of the Mountains jersey, but yellow and green stayed with Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) respectively.
How did it go down?
Today was earmarked as a possible one for the breakaway to win, and when the day’s break formed with the likes of Rigoberto Uran (EF Education), Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic) and Thibaut Pinot present, it sure seemed possible. Particularly since we had the extremely unusual occurrence of a stage that Pogacar didn’t seem to want to win.
What wasn’t predicted was Bob Jungels breaking free of his companions with 61km to go, getting a sizeable gap and holding on with everything he had, to be the one who held his arms aloft at the finish.
Bob Jungels has gone solo from the breakaway!
— ITV Cycling (@itvcycling) July 10, 2022
Jungels used every skill going to net this win. He got his initial gap on the upwards slopes of the Col de la Croix, then descended like a demon down to Aigle to increase his lead. Next? How about a spot of time trialling across the valley before more climbing up the mountains to the finish line?
It's a Bob Jungels breakaway masterclass 🌟
— Eurosport (@eurosport) July 10, 2022
We’ve known for years Bob Jungels is a fine rider, with a Giro stage win and a Liege-Bastogne-Liege victory in his palmares, but the past three years have been hard for him. Illness, injury and surgery have kept him from competing at the top level. This stage is the first thing he’s won outside Luxembourg since 2019.
Welcome back, Bob! Col de la Croix summit 61.1 km to go. Bob Jungels made first move before it, got over summit in 2nd place, then descended alone & soloed for stage win. 1st 🇱🇺 TDF stage win in 11 years. Bob's 1st victory in int. races since 2019 Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/HzMxFotFEQ
— ammattipyöräily (@ammattipyoraily) July 10, 2022
If that wasn’t enough to contend with, Jungels moved to the AG2R team last year, which would be enough to test anyone’s motivation. One thing is for sure, this Tour is treating us to winners who make us feel good.
"It's hard to say how I feel. I'm overwhelmed".
— ITV Cycling (@itvcycling) July 10, 2022
Genuinely emotional watching @BobJungels take that win. One of the nicest guys you can meet. We became good friends when teammates and I know what he’s been through the last few years. So happy for you mate. You kept believing. Enjoy.
— Dan Martin (@DanMartin86) July 10, 2022
Jungels’ win could have been one of those victories that the whole of the Twitterstream could get behind… had it not been for what happened behind him.
Last seen crashing and then connecting with a Trek soigneur’s fist, Thibaut Pinot decided he wanted us to see a different side of him today. And boy, did the Frenchman deliver.
With 20km to go and the breakawaym sitting over 2 minutes behind Jungels, Pinot smashed the break to smithereens as he set off in pursuit. And he flew! As the gradients increased, the FDJ rider cut savagely into Jungels’ lead. After 5km of pedal-stomping, he’d brought the gap down to 60sec. As this rate, our goat-keeping hero was going to have a weekend to remember for all the right reasons!
— Le Gruppetto (@LeGruppetto) July 10, 2022
The only problem was .. Jungels is good. While Pinot could gain time when the road ramped up, once the gradients eased or they were descending, Jungels was able to hold off the darling of the French fans.
At times, it looked so easy for Pinot. In his pomp he seems to glide uphill, his legs putting out a power that seems at odds with the serenity of the rest of his body. However, closing gaps alone is a tiring job – gradually his face tensed and his body started to sway. Watch a clip of Pinot’s final climb today and you will have the visual definition of the phrase ‘riding all over the bike’.
If races could be decided by road-side fans alone, then there is no doubt Pinot would be taking all three steps on the podium this evening. The roars from crowds as he pursued the win were incredible to hear.
— James Stafford (@Jamesdestafford) July 10, 2022
— Aindriú O'Shea (@SadhbhOS) July 10, 2022
If you’re of a delicate disposition, you may want to avert your eyes from this next sentence. In the closing metres of the stage, Pinot was overtaken by Ineos’ Jonathan Castroviejo and Movistar’s Carlos Verona. He missed out on that podium all together.
Pinot did win something, however. There would be riots on the streets if he didn’t.
— Cycling_Eve (@CyclingEve) July 10, 2022
— Cyclism'Actu (@cyclismactu) July 10, 2022
We hit the Alps but did the Alps hit the GC?
Not much. Pogacar and Jonas Vinegaard (Jumbo-Visma) put in a late sprint to the line to put a mighty 3sec into the other GC contenders. At one point today, Rigoberto Uran was in the breakaway and virtual overall leader. However, in a peak EF kinda way, he finished the day 6min behind the main GC guys so now sits outside the top twenty on GC.
The last word
That. Was. Insane. 🤯
PHENOMENAL from Jungels, the BATTLE from Thibs before ultimate heartbreak, the CHASE by Castro and Verona, and the Pog/Jonas sprint.
That is the Tour de France, baby 🇫🇷💛#TDF2022
— Issie 💙 (@IssieAtch) July 10, 2022
Top 5 Stage 8
1 Bob Jungels (AG2R FinalyWonSomething) 4:46:39
2 Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS BreakawaysRus) +0:22
3 Carlos Verona (Movistar YesWeAreAtThisRace) +0:26
4 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-CanIHaveAnotherHug) +0:40
5 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team StrangeTactivs) +0:49
GC Top 10
1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 33:43:44
2 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:39
3 Geraint Thomas (NEOS Grenadiers) +1:17
4 Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +1:25
5 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +1:38
6 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +1:39
7 Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) +1:46
8 Enric Mas (Movistar) +1:50
9 Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) +1:55
10 Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea Samsic) +2:13
All the Jerseys
🎽 Jerseys after stage 9 / Maillots distinctifs après l'étape 9
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 10, 2022
Leader’s jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
Points jersey : Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma)
King of the Mountains: Simon Geschke (Cofidis)
Best young rider: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
For full stage reviews, go to cyclingnews
Official Tour de France website is here