You may well not know the name Sepp Kuss.
But you should get to know it, because he’s yours, mine, and everybody else’s new American hero.
Kuss, a 29-year-old from Durango, Colorado, is just days away from being the first American cyclist to win a Grand Tour (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana) since Christopher Horner in 2013.
But it was far from a straightforward path to get here.
Kuss actually began his professional career late after becoming a two time mountain bike XC national champion for the Colorado Buffaloes in 2014 and 2015.
He signed a his first pro contract in 2016 and two years later moved to the power LottoNL-Jumbo Team (now named Jumbo-Visma).
In order to win a grand tour, you must be one of the world’s best climbers. It became apparent that this was the case with Kuss early in his career when he won stage 15 of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana.
But rather than riding for victories in the years to come, Kuss has taken on a different rule. He’s been the top domestique (helper) for teammates Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard for the last five years.
Kuss helped Roglic win three Vueltas a Espana and Vingegaard win the last two Tours de France.
This time, however, it’s his turn to lead the way.
Kuss moved into second place early in the 2023 Vuelta a Espana thanks to a breakaway victory on stage 6.
He then took the lead in the race in stage 8 and solidified that lead with an impressive time trial on stage 10, a discipline where he’s previously struggled mightily.
After defending champion Remco Evenepoel cracked on stage 13, losing over 20 minutes, it was Kuss who looked favored to win his first ever grand tour. Only Roglic and Vingegaard looked strong enough to dethrone him.
And while both his teammates did later attack him, drawing the ire of the cycling community, Kuss finished Thursday’s 18th stage in 10th place, all but assuring victory in Madrid on Sunday.
It marks a monumental victory not only for him, but for American cycling as a whole.
And fans across the world were fired up to finally see him get his chance.
Well aware that there are 3 stages left…
But as a 🇺🇸 cycling fan who grew up idolizing Lance before that came crumbling down, how #GCKUSS has performed this Vuelta is special.
So grateful to have been able to watch the eagle fly!! pic.twitter.com/E0eDV57JSt
— GC KUSS (@GCSeppKuss) September 14, 2023
— mark woeppel (@MarkWoeppel) September 14, 2023
Sepp Kuss, your new American hero, has officially arrived.