Bob Jungels is a professional road bicycle racer. The 31-year-old Luxembourger took part in the Tour de France for the first time in 2015, 2022 he became first in the nineth stage. He is a wine and sports cars enthusiast, hobby chef and: Circu Li-ion’s brand ambassador. Why and how this relates to his professional career and personal values? This is what we asked him.
As a professional cyclist: Do you secretly have an e-bike?
Bob Jungels (laughs): I don’t have an e-bike. I’m still young enough to use my legs and ride a bike on my own. However, I tried it, and I do get why people like it – it’s quite nice and relaxing. I went on holidays with my friends once, and we did a tour in the mountains of Austria. I rode my own bike, but the others took e-bikes. It was great to have the chance to cycle together – without e-bikes, we wouldn’t have done it.
When you’re not on a bike: What do you do in your free time?
My family and friends are very important to me, which is why I moved back to Luxembourg in 2020, after I had spent five years in Switzerland. When I’m off season, I try to spend as much time as possible with the people who are close to me. I like doing “boys’ stuff” like driving around in sports cars with my friends or drinking wine. I also enjoy cooking and inviting family and friends over for dinner. I can spend a whole day on preparing. When I’m in training, the food is usually quite simple, so our bodies don’t have big reactions. Once I’m off season, I like to experiment with food. My favourite dish: Otto Lenghi’s Chicken Marbella.
What brought you to cycling?
I was really young, I think six years old, when my friend and I started cycling in the streets of Rollingen, Luxembourg, where I was born and raised. One day, he asked if I wanted to join a bike club. I enjoyed it right away and was quite talented, everything came easy to me.
Were there any challenges you were facing during your cyclist career?
The first years of my career were very smooth. In 2018 I started developing an endofibrosis of the iliac artery. It’s a pretty typical diagnosis for cyclists, since the movement you do with your legs and hip is not very natural. However, it took a long time to find out what was wrong. In June 2021 I got my diagnosis and had two surgeries the week right after. I couldn’t do any training for the next 6 weeks. It took me another year to get back to my level.
What kept you going?
Mostly believing in my capacities. I’ve been on top of the world before and I knew I wouldn’t lose these capacities unless there was a problem with my body. This year, I got a lung infection after Covid, which resulted in everything derailing – again. Health is unpredictable and as professional cyclists we push our bodies to the limits. We’re fragile and vulnerable, once infections or injuries slow us down, but in the end, it’s a bit out of our hands. I just keep hoping for the best and try to keep my head in the game!
What was your highest accomplishment as a professional cyclist?
My victory in the nineth stage of the Tour de France last year. After all these struggles, it felt so good getting back on stage! Most memorable was my victory in the race Liège–Bastogne–Liège in 2018. It’s close to Luxembourg, so a lot of fans were there cheering. It was always my dream to win that race.
How did your journey as a brand ambassador for Circu Li-ion begin?
I met Antoine through a common friend at the end of 2022. He explained what Circu Li-ion does and what the projection for the future looks like. Electronic versions of bikes and cars are our future – however, I never thought about what to do with the batteries. I obviously knew about recycling, but being able to take them apart, diagnose and upcycle them in an automated process? That’s amazing! That’s when I agreed to become Circu Li-ion’s brand ambassador.
What excites you the most about being a brand ambassador?
The world is flooded with influencers and very important people advertising products. As a brand ambassador, however, I need to be able to really identify with the brand. I want to understand what the company is about, their people and their vision. That’s super important to me and that’s why I’m happy to represent Circu Li-ion.
Can you share a memorable experience you've had while representing the brand?
When I was invited to the headquarter in Luxembourg, the team showed me videos how the robotics and automated upcycling processes in Karlsruhe work, it was quite impressive. What I really liked experiencing is how passionate the team is – for batteries! Xavier and Antoine have a clear vision where they want to go: Bringing urban mining to life with an automated upcycling platform. To me, that’s very convincing.
How do you connect with the values and mission of CLI?
Antoine and Xavier are – just like me – from Luxembourg, which is a very small country. When I started cycling, we didn’t have the mass of cycling fanatics as other countries, it was hard to find good people for the team. This made succeeding in international races a bit more challenging. I think Antoine and Xavier can relate to that – competing in international markets is hard. But what we have in common: We keep believing in ourselves and focus on our mission.
On a more personal level: I want to be a role model for kids, younger cyclists or any kind of fans. And I think Circu Li-ion can be that role model in terms of sustainability in the battery industry.
Thanks a lot for your time and insights, Bob!
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Photos by Circu Li-ion & Bob Jungels