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Sepp Kuss is the second American Vuelta a España champion

Sepp Kuss is the second American Vuelta a España champion

Sepp Kuss became the second American to win the Vuelta Ciclista a España on Sunday, joining Chris Horner, who took the title a decade ago. Jumbo-Visma showed its strength in depth this year in the WorldTour, sweeping the Grand Tours with three different riders, and sweeping the Vuelta podium. So far, the Dutch Bees have won 33.3% of the WorldTour.

Sunday’s stage started with a procession from a race course on Madrid’s outskirts before hitting the city proper and taking on nine 6-km laps.

Jumbo-Visma’s Grand Tour Trident all wore their winning jerseys before the start, and the team was clad in a special kit commemorating the great accomplishment.

In the city circuits, five stage winners–Remco Evenepoel, Kaden Groves, Lennard Kamna, Rui Costa, Filippo Ganna–and Nico Denz got loose and looked to stay loose. With Caja Rural, Arkea-Samsic and Bahrain-Victorious bearing down on them, Evenepoel launched a late attack, but it would be Groves earning his own hat trick of stage triumphs.

Kuss was part of a large, powerful breakaway on Stage 6. He took the red jersey after he won atop Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre, 2:52 ahead of teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič. This stage and the individual time trial proved to be the crucial days in Kuss taking the title. His challenge after that came from his teammates Vingegaard and Roglič. The team seemed to be two minds after the Dane, the American and the Slovenian went 1-2-3 on Tourmalet, which put them 1-2-3 on GC in a different order. Jumbo-Visma was poised to sweep the 2023 Grand Tours, but who would lift the trophy in Madrid? Finally, after Vingegaard’s victory on Stage 16 and Roglič’s win on Stage 17, the squad fully rallied around Kuss on Stage 18.

Kuss lost less than a minute to Roglic and 11 seconds to Vingegaard in the time trial.

Not only did Kuss help Roglič win the Giro d’Italia and Vingegaard to win the Tour de France this season–finishing 14th and 12th respectively–but he also pulled for them in all their Grand Tour victories. Before this Vuelta, Kuss’ best Grand Tour result was 8th in the 2021 Vuelta, when Primož Roglič earned a hat trick of Spanish triumphs.

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