American Sepp Kuss emerged as the winner of the Vuelta a Espana, with the three-week race concluding in a thrilling bunch sprint won by Australian Kaden Groves. Kuss, initially overshadowed by his Jumbo-Visma teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic, claimed the red jersey on the eighth stage and maintained his lead until the end. He finished 17 seconds ahead of Vingegaard and one minute and eight seconds ahead of Roglic. This victory marks the first time a single team has won all three Grand Tours in a season, and Kuss becomes the first American rider to win one of the three since Chris Horner in 2013.
Kuss’s overall victory was essentially secured on the penultimate stage when he received support from Roglic and Vingegaard, who became his domestiques. The final stage, a 101km circuit in Madrid, saw a battle for the stage victory, with Groves ultimately emerging as the winner. Evenepoel, who had hoped to defend his overall title, settled for the climber’s jersey. Kuss’s unexpected triumph was well-received, as he had been a dedicated support rider for his teammates in previous races.
Reflecting on his victory, Kuss expressed his gratitude and acknowledged the challenging nature of the race. He described the experience as life-changing and expressed his intention to remain true to himself. Kuss’s early assumption of the red jersey was initially seen as temporary, but his ability to hold onto it and perform well in the mountain stages solidified his position. Jumbo-Visma’s sporting director, Marc Reef, emphasized that Kuss’s victory showcased the team’s depth and praised his contributions throughout the season.
In conclusion, Sepp Kuss’s triumph in the Vuelta a Espana marks a significant achievement for both himself and the Jumbo-Visma team. His unexpected victory, coupled with the team’s success in all three Grand Tours, highlights their strength and talent.
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