Jumbo-Visma became the first team to win all three Grand Tours in a single season and were the first in nearly 60 years to take a clean sweep of all three top GC positions in a Grand Tour thanks to Kuss, Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič.
Yet if such a crushing display of power has to be recognised, they could not possibly have expected so many cards to fall their way, either in the Vuelta or in the 2023 Grand Tours.
Remco Evenepoel’s dramatic exit from the GC battle on the stage to the Col du Tourmalet was probably the biggest factor that helped the Dutch team take such a devastating triumph, while the misfortune that struck other top rivals like Geraint Thomas of Ineos Grenadiers also played in their favour.
Jumbo-Visma were always in a position to make the most of their rivals’ setbacks and bad luck and built their dominance day after day, tightening their grip on the race stage after stage.
The huge controversy of the final week, with the three leaders all in a position to win a race and the team then finally deciding to back Kuss, highlighted how Jumbo-Visma came close to being victims of their own success.
The team leadership soap opera produced some of the most memorable moments of the 2023 Vuelta and blew-up social media, but that shouldn’t in any way take away from the scale of Jumbo-Visma’s achievements out on the roads of the Vuelta and at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.
These are Cyclingnews’ five key moments that defined the 2023 Vuelta.
Sepp Kuss wins stage 6 at the Javalambre Astronomy Observatory
For an encapsulation of the entire Vuelta a España, you could do worse than watch stage 6, which rolled across the sierras of Teruel in southern Spain before concluding on the summit finish of Javalambre.
It was a tactical masterpiece on Jumbo-Visma’s part and, with hindsight, where the biggest foundation stone in their overall victory arch was laid.
After an utterly anarchic first three hours of racing, Jumbo-Visma emerged the clear collective winner, placing no less than four riders in a mass breakaway of 35, including Sepp Kuss.
Interestingly enough, Kuss said later that with numerous GC outsiders in the move, including Mikel Landa (Bahrain…