Vuelta champion Kuss says victory ‘life-changing’ as Jumbo-Visma make history
BARCELONA: American rider Sepp Kuss claimed his first Grand Tour victory in the Vuelta a España on Sunday in Madrid, which he described as “life-changing,” as his team Jumbo-Visma completed an unprecedented treble.
The Dutch team became the first to win all three Grand Tours in a single year, after Jonas Vingegaard won his second consecutive Tour de France and Primoz Roglic triumphed at the Giro d’Italia.
While Jumbo-Visma co-leaders Vingegaard and Roglic are accustomed to being the superstars, this week they supported their usually loyal domestique Kuss to his maiden Grand Tour success on apparent team orders.
Kuss, 29, crossed the line smiling wide, his position as general classification leader not under threat on stage 21’s flat 101.5 kilometer procession to Madrid.
“It’s incredible — I think today was the stage that I suffered in the most of the whole race, now I’m just glad it’s over,” said Kuss.
“I’ll still be me — it’s life-changing for sure, but I think I’ll just look back on this experience with a lot of fond memories.”
He continued: “It’s still sinking in and it’s going to take quite some time.
“(Tonight we’ll have) a big celebration, family and friends are here and that is going to be really special.”
Danish rider Vingegaard finished second, 17 seconds behind Kuss, who finished the gruelling 21 stage race in 76 hours, 48 minutes and 21 seconds.
Roglic came in third, just over a minute behind Kuss, with Spaniard Juan Ayuso of UAE Team Emirates beating his compatriots Mikel Landa and Enric Mas to fourth.
“This year, I came with bigger ambitions but it wasn’t possible against a very strong team,” said Ayuso, 21, who finished third in the previous edition of the Vuelta.
Ayuso also claimed the white