RSNplusSuperdomestike wins the Vuelta
Written by Peter Maurer
Vengegard, Kos and Roglic celebrate their unique Grand Tour success. | Photo: Cor Foss
September 17, 2023 | (rsn) – Four days after his 29th birthday, Sepp Koss’s first Grand Tour win (Jumbo-Visma) was perfect. In a year in which he competed in all three Grand National Tours and was first co-pilot in both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, he achieved the greatest success of his career to date. Companions on the winner’s podium in Madrid with teammates Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vengegaard could not have been more fitting.
They’re teammates who he sacrificed himself for almost all year, but they also have a lot in common. Not just the joint successes and triple Grand Tour championships they have achieved together now. The Durango man played an important, if not the biggest, role in the victories in Italy and France. Kuss deserves to achieve the feat of winning all three Grand Tours in one season as a team. ___STEADY_PAYWALL___
Sepp Koss took over the red jersey from the overall leader after the eighth stage of the Vuelta Photo: Cor Vos
He grew up in Colorado and is the offspring of the cross-country skiing coach who led the U.S. team to the Olympic Games in Innsbruck in 1964 and Sapporo in 1972, and he also has Slovenian roots. His grandparents immigrated from Gorizia to the United States. For this reason, there could not have been a better setting for a Giroud victory with Roglic, who took home the pink jersey at the final time of the trial on the Slovenian-Italian border in Monte Losari. Not only did Slovenian Roglic have a certain home advantage, but for Kos, this place also had its own history.
Mountain biking was more glamorous, but the sport was very predictable
Like Roglic, road cycling was not initially high on the agenda for Americans. In his youth, Koss loved winter sports and mountain biking, with one of the world’s largest marathons being held in his hometown of Leadville. A racing bike wasn’t cool enough when he was younger. That’s why he gained his first international mountain biking experience, finishing 36th at the 2014 U23 World Championships in Lillehammer.
But after a year, he turned to the “uncool” route. He explained that mountain bike races were very predictable for him, while longer road races provided more excitement. Kos quickly proved his talent in the USA, where he was noticed by his current employer at the 2017 Tour of California.
Kuss got a contract and became a very local professional. He was already one of the most important assistants at the Tour de France in 2021 when Jonas Vingegaard joined the eight-man squad for France as a substitute rider. In the end, Vingegaard ended up in second place and two Tour victories followed, especially with the help of Kuss, who always worked tirelessly for his captains.
Kuss won the sixth Vuelta stage from La Vall d’Uixo to Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre | Photo: Cor Foss
Team player hoping to get his own chance
His mother, Sabrina, once told a local newspaper that the one thing her son particularly liked about road cycling was the team spirit: “And that everyone gets their chance at some point.” And this is exactly what the American had to offer at the Vuelta a Espana 2023.
“I think it will take some time for it to sink in,” Kos said, describing his emotions in his team’s press release after the Vuelta victory. In Spain he grew new wings. Thanks to the support of his successful teammates Roglic and Vengegard, who eventually stopped attacking their respective supers, Kos achieved great success.
“I am infinitely grateful to them for their support. But not only to Primoz and Jonas, but to the whole team. I will never forget this success as long as I live,” said Kos, whose girlfriend Noemi Ferret was shaking during the final. week. She herself is a former cyclist and a Spaniard who gave North America additional support to the Iberian Peninsula to write its own cycling history. But the story of giving his team the triple success they craved is much bigger than that. For the first time, a team has won all three Grand National rounds of the year – with three different drivers!
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