Sepp Kuss maintained his top-10 standing Thursday at the Tour of Utah.
The 22-year-old professional road cyclist from Durango is 1 minute, 2 seconds behind Rally Cycling teammate Robert Britton after four of seven stages of the UCI multi-day event in Utah.
Kuss, who graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in May, held the yellow jersey as the race’s overall leader Tuesday after finishing second on a big climbing stage that finished at Snowbasin Resort. He surrendered the yellow jersey Wednesday after a 5.6-mile uphill time trial at Big Cottonwood Canyon.
Thursday’s Stage 4 featured little climbing across 123 miles in and around South Jordan City. The route featured 10 miles of maintained dirt and gravel, and Kuss was able to avoid any trouble in the dirt section to finish 28th overall on the stage.
He is still 10th in the general classification standings, 1:02 behind Britton.
John Murphy was first to the line in Thursday’s sprint stage. He finished in 4 hours, 22 minutes, 23 seconds. Kuss finished in the same time.
Jose Alfredo Rodriguez Victoria was second on Stage 4, and Mihkel Raim was third. Rally Cycling’s Colin Joyce, who attended the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic with Kuss this year, was fourth. Kuss won the IHBC.
The final three stages of the race feature climbing, and that plays into Kuss’ strength. Stage 5 is a 115-mile ride from Layton to Bountiful and will feature 4,200 feet of elevation gain.
The stage ends with two 9-mile circuits around Layton, with a big climb across the Bountiful Bench each lap.
Stage 6 is a relatively short stage but boasts the most elevation gain of any stage on the Tour of Utah. In 61 miles from Heber Valley, there will be 7,700 feet of climbing to the finish at Snowbird Resort.
Riders will face the Alpine Loop, a Category 1 climb alongside Sundance Resort. It will pass through American Fork Canyon and Timpanogos Cave National Monument before the final climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Snowbird.
Sunday’s Stage 7 will see 5,450 feet of elevation gain across 73 miles around Salt Lake City. It is a true circuit stage, with 11 laps. Riders will face a long climb up State Street as the predominate climb.
BMC Racing Team leads the team standings after four stages. Kuss’ Rally Cycling team is second only 43 seconds back with plenty of opportunity to make up ground and challenge the WorldTour team that leads. Kuss will play a major role in helping Britton secure an individual title and helping his team try to get past BMC.