Bob Jungels is five weeks through an eight-week recovery process from having surgery on both his legs to address iliac artery endofibrosis, which is a thickening of the iliac artery. While eight weeks isn’t a short time, Jungels says that he is happy to have a solution after struggling for three or four years with a mystery problem and decrease in performance.
“Iliac artery endofibrosis sounds quite spectacular but basically it’s quite common in the cycling world,” Jungels says. “You just feel like if you go above threshold your legs start to cramp and you lose power. Your legs don’t get that oxygen that they need when you go super deep. It’s not something like a broken collarbone where you can’t ride your bike, but you just can’t go super deep, and it gets worse and worse.”
Jungels speaks to Bobby and Jens about the years-long process of figuring out what the problem was, and how he is now recovering.
Jens offers some encouragement to Jungels as he has seen riders like Stuart O’Grady come back from iliac artery endofibrosis surgery to ride “like brand new riders” and extend their careers for multiple years.
Jungels also discusses what it’s like to be a 28-year-old professional who has witnessed what he calls the old school methods of riding and racing with the new data-driven methods.
“Did Bobby and my generation overtrain with too many miles?” Jens asks. ”The new generation of riders don’t have 500,000 miles in their legs like I did when I was 35.”
Jungels says he consider himself lucky to have seen multiple systems and can choose what works for him, whether that is using glucose monitors or sleep trackers or core-temperature thermometers.
“It’s important to make your own mind up and not get lost in all the technology,” he says.
And don’t get him started on the data-intensive pre-race team meetings.
“To be honest, I hate it,” Jungels says of the amount of information that is delivered. “It is super helpful of course if you’re a sprinter. But nowadays, the team meeting in the bus takes one hour. When I started my career, it took 10 minutes.”
“To me, it’s just becoming a bit crazy because of all the information you get before the stage and during the race in the radio,” he says. “It’s so much information you can’t process it. I like it when you can still ride a little bit on your feeling. That is something that is getting lost a little bit.”
Listen to the latest episode of Bobby & Jens for the full conversation.
“Bobby & Jens” is a weekly VeloNews podcast brought to you by Zwift. It stars former pros Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt and features conversations with top athletes, coaches, emerging stars, and other newsmakers from the wide world of cycling. A new episode drops every Friday. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts.