Sepp Kuss is set to head to Madrid on Sunday as the first US grand tour winner since Chris Horner won the Vuelta a España a decade ago, and the former pro believes Kuss’ success at the Vuelta could breathe life into the American racing scene.
Horner, who now runs his own custom YouTube channelit is also strongly believed that Jumbo-Visma only decided to support Kuss after the team faced a huge public backlash following Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard’s repeated attacks on their fellow mountaineer.
The situation reached a fever pitch on Angliru on stage 17 after the three riders pulled away from all their remaining rivals, only for Roglič to attack with Vingegaard on his wheel. Kuss was unable to follow up but limited his losses to hold a slim lead overall.
After that controversial episode, both Roglic and Vengegard changed their tactics and started defending Kos during the remaining stages.
“The management at Jumbo only turned the page because of the fan protests and the public relations nightmare the Jumbo was going through,” Horner said. GCN In a telephone interview from his home in the United States.
“That’s why they turned the page. They didn’t turn the page because Angelero was finished. It was a nightmare scenario. They were having meetings before the race, during the race, after the race, and then before everyone went to bed. They were probably setting off their alarms at 2 a.m. To hold another meeting.
“If you want to believe the PR stuff they give you, you can, but there was a lot of pressure on Seb [to win] In the end, the team came.”
“Seb is a fantastic ambassador for the sport stateside.”
The importance of the new US Grand Tour winner is certainly not lost on Horner, whose victory in the 2013 Vuelta made him the first official American rider to win a three-week race since Greg LeMond in 1990. Given the difficulties that domestic cycling faces, the scene in the US Right now, especially on the road with a wave of team closures and a lack of racing, Kuss’s success has the potential to light a fire under a fanbase that has been yearning for a Grand Tour win for years.
“I hope to see this give US racing a boost and see sponsors come back. You can get more US teams finding sponsorship rather than just having Lidl-Trek and EF Education-EasyPost, who don’t have that many Americans on board,” Horner said. “The team could bring in more sponsors and help the sport grow.”
“The US racing scene is sinking or at best its nose above water. Hopefully that exposure will come to light but it takes a few years because it doesn’t happen right away. But it gives the US the ability to look beyond that. Sepp Koss win highlights “For the things you said that we have these talented riders, they are just riding for Jumbo and the UAE.”
According to Horner, it’s not just Kos’s achievements on the bike that are worthy of toast, but his personality and professionalism as well.
“I think Sepp Kuss is a great ambassador for the sport on the American side,” he said.
He added: “His personality is very interesting to watch, with the way he dedicates his success to the team, and it’s really cool how he races. When I was racing, in my days, I loved racing for the team and that’s why you can.” Watch me talk about it on my channel.
“I was very upset with the way Jumbo was treating him because throughout my career it was always about your team winning and sharing the wins. It hurt my heart when his teammates were attacking him but I love that Seb wins. He’s a great guy player.”
“Seb should stay where he is.”
The closure of the podium for Jumbo-Visma’s Vuelta a España led to rumors and speculation about the future of all three riders at the top of the standings. The trio are locked into their current contracts for several years, but that has not stopped Roglic and Kos from being linked with moves to rival teams.
The Dutch side have done their best to ensure they have a happy and ready squad, and Horner does not understand why Kos would seek a transfer unless the conditions at another club were absolutely ideal for him.
According to Horner, the Vuelta leader will get another chance to lead the team and would be better off taking advantage of Jumbo’s power rather than competing against it.
“I don’t think Seb will leave Jumbo unless there’s an amazing opportunity because you’ll need five to eight riders for the GC to compete against Jumbo and UAE. If he goes to another team there will be pressure on him to beat those guys,” Horner said.
“Right now, he’s not being judged as well as those guys are, so he’s always going to be put down the stretch in the Jumbo but on another team, he’s always going to fight against those guys and they won’t let him get up the road and earn four minutes.
“If I were him, I wouldn’t go anywhere unless there was an option where you had an amazing sponsorship program with the budget of UAE and Jumbo, and they made a great team. If he went somewhere else, you would have to fight Pogačar, and then of course Vingegaard and Roglič.”
“Jumbo-Visma is heading for a fall”
Horner, who raced alongside the likes of Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong and Fabian Cancellara during his long career, can envision infighting and more drama within Jumbo-Visma as the team seeks to keep its stars content.
So far, the team’s strategy has been roughly solid, but with the rise of the three current Grand Tour champions, plus Wout van Aert and a host of other riders, Horner could see difficulty brewing.
“Seb will have to wait for that opportunity as Roglic will not feature in the Giro or the Vuelta. Roglic will not race the Giro or the Vuelta and there will be disagreements in Jumbo-Visma,” Horner said.
“If they are not willing to bring both Jonas and Roglic into the Tour, I cannot imagine us seeing Roglic stay in the team because he wants to win the Tour de France and he will be 34 soon.
“It would be a crime for Roglic to miss the Tour de France every year so that Jonas can win. If they don’t bring him to the Tour, Roglic may leave and we may see him bring Seb with him. Seb will have a chance. He has sought to win Grand Tours again but at the moment no He can choose when that day will be.”
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