Sepp Kuss sounds like a Scandinavian. He looks kind of Germanic. He rides for a Dutch team in support of a Slovenian but is an American. Today, Stage 15 of La Vuelta, was the biggest win of his short career.
You’d be forgiven at this point for a quick diversion to Wikipedia to find out who the hell Sepp Kuss is and why I’m rattling on about him.
He’s yet one more rider, in this season of hot prospects, who appears to have the (cycling) world at his feet.
A mountainous day, with a summit finish atop the beautiful Alto del Acebo; twelve hundred metres high, and the usual steep ramps and goat track paving so beloved of this race. Kuss made the day’s main break, to ensure assistance, up the road, should team mate and race leader Primoz Roglic need it.
Let’s answer that question right away. Roglic did not need it. Not even close. He barely needs a bike, right now, so strong is he.Embed from Getty Images
In control all day, he then lived with the scorching pace set by Movistar on the lower slopes of the Acebo. In fact he thrived. It was ridiculously quick, a moment to see, viscerally, just how powerful these athletes are, and Roglic was there. Stock still on the bike, untroubled.
When Alejandro Valverde attacked on thatn final climb it was Roglic who responded. The pair then sat, figuratively, across a bar room table, and downed shots.
Back and forth.
Who’ll keel over first?
As it happened, the pair of them made it to closing time upright and in possession of their senses. Not a second of time between them. Other challengers – Lopez and Pogacar – losing forty precious seconds. Quintana, on one of his off days, several minutes.Embed from Getty Images
Kuss, meanwhile, was clear at the head of the field.
When word reached him, from the team car, that Roglic was solid and he should fill his boots, he didn’t hesitate. He swept up the few riders ahead of him on the climb and just danced away.
For the final kilometre – a left turn, up a great slab of earth towards the summit – the road narrowed to almost the width of a pro cyclist’s wingspan.
Kuss, gloriously, knowing he felt good and wouldn’t be caught, grinned like a Cheshire cat, having it’s tummy tickled, being spoon fed tuna fish from the can.
Arms outstretched he smiled, and laughed, and high-fived the fans all along the way.
(Top Image: Ray Rogers from Novato, United States [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D