‘It is fairly fleeting’: After Tour de France, life settles down for Sepp Kuss

‘It is fairly fleeting’: After Tour de France, life settles down for Sepp Kuss

Sepp Kuss of Durango celebrates on the rostrum after successful Stage 15 of the Tour de France in Andorra on July 11. (AP Picture/Christophe Ena)

Christophe Ena

Durango native had sturdy displaying in Tour de France
The ultimate stage of the Tour de France is in contrast to most bike races. The day begins with the race chief and different vital riders using simple, posing for pictures with their teammates as they roll alongside, as if it was a parade quite than a race.
That’s what Durango-born skilled bike owner Sepp Kuss was doing Sunday afternoon, hours away from finishing his second-career Tour de France.
Though the general competitors winner is already sorted out by the ultimate stage, there’s nonetheless a dash end up the Champs-Élysées, in order the peloton rolls into Paris, the tempo picks up as riders seek for one final probability at victory. After 21 days and greater than 2,000 miles of racing, riders should exert themselves one final time.
“You are simply form of counting down the laps till it is over,” Kuss mentioned in an interview this week with The Durango Herald. “Then you already know you may have fun and be completely happy along with your teammates and what you all went by means of collectively, whether or not you gained or misplaced or something. I believe it is particular for everyone to complete there in Paris.”
Kuss’ three weeks in France had been stuffed with wins and losses. The plain spotlight for the 26-year-old was successful Stage 15, which completed in his adopted residence nation of Andorra. Plus, his teammate Wout van Aert gained three levels, together with the ultimate one in Paris. However the race additionally noticed a number of of Kuss’ Jumbo-Visma teammates drop out due to accidents.
Firstly of the race, Kuss’ main goal within the race was to offer help for teammate Primoz Roglic, final yr’s runner-up and a chief race favourite for this yr’s version. Nevertheless, Roglic was compelled to withdraw from the Tour with extreme bruising and street rash after a sequence of crashes.
There have been nonetheless loads of alternatives for his group to prosper, although. Stage 15 offered a course that might go well with Kuss’ skills; a steep climb was adopted by a blistering descent to the end line in Andorra, the place Kuss and plenty of of his teammates reside.
The Durangoan launched his assault on the ultimate climb, and held a 20-second benefit as he crested the summit. He maintained his lead over Alejandro Valverde of Spain to turn out to be the primary American to win a stage on the French race since 2011.
“It was actually a special occasion and it is cool to know that you just gained a stage within the Tour de France,” Kuss mentioned. “However I believe as cyclists you are already seeking to the subsequent factor, the subsequent objective, and also you at all times have a fairly brief reminiscence. Already that day feels so way back. You are already fascinated by the subsequent race or what you are going to do on the subsequent day nearly, so yeah it is, I suppose it is fairly fleeting.”

Runner-up Alejandro Valverde of Spain congratulates Stage 15 winner Sepp Kuss of Durango on July 11 in Andorra. (Thomas Samson/Pool Picture through AP)

Thomas Samson

After the day’s podium ceremony and interviews had been full, Kuss turned his consideration to being a helper once more for teammates like Jonas Vingegaard, who completed second total. Regardless that Kuss’ day within the highlight was fleeting, his family and friends in Durango stay ecstatic.
“It will need to have felt so cool,” mentioned Chad Cheeney, co-founder of the Durango Devo program who coached Kuss when he was a younger mountain biker.
“I believe somebody informed me that (NBC commentator) Bob Roll talked about Devo and he have to be good at downhilling if he is from Durango Devo or one thing,” Cheeney mentioned. “I simply knew it will need to have been a fairly rad descent to victory.”
Since rising by means of the ranks of home and worldwide skilled biking, Kuss has established a house base in Andorra, a tiny nation located between France and Spain.

Durango’s Sepp Kuss is his second profession begin on the Tour de France. As soon as extra, his objective is to get by means of the opening week with out harm to be prepared for the larger climbs within the closing two weeks of the world’s most notorious street biking occasion. (Courtesy of Workforce Jumbo-Visma)

“That stage meant rather a lot to him with adopting Andorra as his new residence,” mentioned Sabina Kuss, Sepp’s mom. “He is constructing a home there, and his girlfriend and her household had been there, so he mentioned that actually motivated him to know that he was occurring his adopted nation roads and seeing his Spanish household up there.”
The COVID-19 pandemic together with a busy skilled life has saved Kuss away from Durango lately, however his mother and father are in a position to sustain with him by watching the races which might be broadcast.
“We’re at all times excited by no matter bike race he’s in,” mentioned Sepp’s father, Dolph Kuss. “We watch all of them.”
Sabina Kuss provides that the Tour ending brings a bittersweet feeling.
“We acquired to see him each morning for 3 weeks,” she mentioned. “Now we do not get to get up within the morning and see Sepp. However I am simply thrilled that he ended his tour with none accidents or street rash or something. He is in nice form to begin his Vuelta in a couple of month.”
After the Tour, many cyclists instantly boarded a airplane to Tokyo for the biking occasions within the Olympic Video games. Kuss had made the prior resolution to not compete within the Video games, quite specializing in the Tour and La Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain).
“I assumed they (USA Biking) would need me to go simply contemplating the course and the way a lot climbing there was,” Kuss mentioned in regards to the Tokyo Video games. “Already within the winter, figuring out what my schedule was going to be, I did not have a lot curiosity in going. And, yeah, I imply, even at this level I do not remorse not going a lot.”
With riders leaving for Tokyo and others having already dropped out of the race, the post-race revelry in Paris was muted in comparison with different years, however Kuss nonetheless had alternative to hit the city.
“At our dinner we simply had three riders, but it surely was a very nice night,” he mentioned. “Loads of the riders’ and staffs’ households had come to Paris, and all of us met on the Dutch Embassy there so it was a pleasant setting and, you already know, speeches and every part and good celebration.”

A biking fan runs alongside Sepp Kuss as he climbs Col du Portet cross throughout Stage 17 of the Tour de France on July 14. (AP Picture/Daniel Cole)

Daniel Cole

Reactions from the Durango neighborhood poured out over the course of the three-week race, particularly after Kuss’ win on Stage 15.
“Huge ups to Sepp Kuss,” Todd Wells, a former mountain bike Olympian, wrote on social media. “Big journey at this time successful in his European residence base of Andorra.”
“Thanks Sepp Kuss for doing Durango and America proud by successful at this time’s Tour de France stage,” wrote good friend {and professional} mountain biker Payson McElveen. “The tears of pleasure this morning wiped away my very own (racing) frustrations and reinvigorated my pleasure to get again to working laborious.”
“He is acquired quite a lot of followers in Durango,” Dolph Kuss mentioned. “Everybody I discuss to, they’re at all times enthusiastic about his using and so they get pleasure from watching bike races. In reality, lots of people have turn out to be extra considering watching bike races since Sepp has been taking part the final couple of years.”
“Individuals say, ‘Inform Sepp we’re cheering for him,’ or ‘Inform Sepp nice job,’” added Sabina. “I at all times convey that to Sepp, and you’ll simply really feel him smile and he at all times says, ‘Effectively, I actually admire that.’ So, he is actually conscious of it. He is acquired a good neighborhood in Durango that helps him.”
One stronghold of help is the Durango Devo program, the place Kuss acquired his begin as a aggressive mountain biker. Devo athletes realized about Kuss’ win on the Mountain Bike Nationwide Championships in Winter Park, the place a number of Durangoans rode to wins and podium performances.
Kuss serves as a task mannequin and real-world instance for the Devo athletes, who vary in age from 2 to 18.
“He is only a banner man and he has an incredible outlook on life,” Cheeney mentioned. “Simply being round individuals, he can do it. These issues go a great distance in a task mannequin. He hasn’t been right here a lot in the previous couple of years, however when he does come residence he is fairly in-tune with hanging out and speaking to the youngsters, in order that’s superior.”
For his half, Kuss says that aspiring racers ought to observe their passions and have enjoyable doing so.
“If they’ll study something from me it is simply to get pleasure from using your bike and doing it since you adore it. That is what I try to present at any time when I am racing or the coaching that I put into the outcomes. It’s at all times about love and delight, and I believe that is what the primary message they need to take from what I am doing, as a result of ultimately, that is what it takes to be at this degree is to simply actually have a ardour for it.”

Sepp Kuss of the U.S. celebrates as he crosses the end line to win Stage 15 of the Tour de France in Andorra on July 11. (AP Picture/Christophe Ena)

Christophe Ena

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