Tour 2022: Bob Jungels completes 60 kilometers solo in mountain stage to Châtel

Bob Jungels has won the ninth stage of the Tour de France 2022 after an impressive solo of 60 kilometers. The 29-year-old Luxembourger of AG2R Citroën was the best rider from a large group of refugees in the Swiss-French mountain stage between Aigle and ski resort Châtel. In the final he kept the onrushing Thibaut Pinot, who was still overtaken by Jonathan Castroviejo and Carlos Verona, well behind. Tadej Pogačar retains the yellow jersey.

Long battle for flight
The opening phase after the start in Aigle was flat and very attractive. A battle was fought, but no group could get away. The first hour of racing was very grueling on the undulating terrain. Only after the first climb of the day, the Côte de Bellevue where Jonathan Castroviejo took the mountain point, a serious leading group of fourteen men managed to break away.

The presence of Castroviejo on behalf of INEOS Grenadiers was striking. He was with Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-EasyPost), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Simon Geschke (Cofidis), Kobe Goossens (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Bob Jungels (AG2R Citroën ), Patrick Konrad (BORA-hansgrohe), Carlos Verona (Movistar), Luis Léon Sánchez (Bahrain Victorious), Joe Dombrowski (Astana Qazaqstan), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Guy Niv, Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech) and Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels-KTM).

Wout van Aert again in the attack – photo: Cor Vos

Wout van Aert joins us
In a following chasing group, green jersey Wout van Aert and Brandon McNulty jumped along. That group, which also included Pierre Latour, Benoît Cosnefroy and Ion Izagirre, joined and provided a leading group of 21 men. Van Aert’s attack had an added advantage; he was able to pick up the 20 points in the intermediate sprint in Semsales. The difference with the peloton, where UAE was chasing Emirates, was two minutes at that time.

The difference grew just above three minutes, but the Pogačar team did not give much more. Up front, Urán was the best placed rider at 3.24 minutes. Due to the high pace in the leading group, the peloton could not stay behind. On the sloping sections of the Col des Mosses, where Latour took five mountain points, the peloton was considerably thinned out.

Revived Jungels shows itself
On the following Col de la Croix (8.1 km at 7.6%) the gap with the peloton narrowed. It caused some nervousness in the leading group. Jungels pulled away and was connected just below the top by Geschke, who took the most points. The two front runners started the descent with a 25 seconds lead. The favorites group followed at 2.20 minutes.

Bob Jungels focuses on stage victory – photo: Cor Vos

In the long dip, sixty kilometers before the finish, Jungels left Geschke behind again. The Luxembourger single-handedly managed to take a lead of more than a minute over the Van Aert group, which was thirteen men. In the valley, Jungels kept a brisk pace, as he only outran the chasers and the pack.

Pinot hunts Jungels
With two minutes ahead of the Van Aert group, Jungels started the Pas de Morgins (15.4 km at 6.1%) and that difference also kept increasing. In the peloton Daniel Felipe Martínez had problems early on due to Bennett’s pace and later Vlasov also cracked, while for refugee Van Aert his day was over after he had supplied his leaders with some water.

More than eight kilometers below the top, the chasing group exploded. Pinot attacked and went hunting alone for Jungels. The Frenchman quickly got within a minute of the Luxembourger and then caught Jungels in sight. However, the difference remained about 20 seconds. With that lead, the AG2R Citroën rider rounded the top. Because Geschke emerged fifth, the German takes over the polka dot jersey from Magnus Cort.

Bob Jungels holds out and grabs stage win
Jungels was therefore under full pressure entering the final ten kilometers, which consisted of five kilometers downhill and another four kilometers up to the finish in Châtel. Not far behind Pinot were Verona and Castroviejo. But no matter how hard they tried, the three pursuers did not get much closer to Jungels. Pinot did collapse; he was passed in extremis by Castroviejo and Verona.

In the favorites group, UAE Emirates maintained a tight pace until the last kilometer. Yellow jersey wearer Pogačar tried to surprise his competitors with a strong sprint, but Jonas Vingegaard reacted attentively and finished in the wheel of his direct competitor. Three seconds behind, a group with Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates, Enric Mas, Nairo Quintana, Damiano Caruso, Romain Bardet and Primož Roglič finished.

Pogačar and Vingegaard take time, Martínez falls through the ice
There was a loss of time for Tom Pidcock, who crossed the finish line seven seconds after Pogačar. Louis Meintjes lost 23 seconds and Aleksandr Vlasov 27 seconds. Daniel Felipe Martínez seems to have lost the classification, the intended leader of INEOS Grenadiers eventually lost more than sixteen (!) minutes.