When Sepp Kuss handed off the yellow jersey Robert Britton after Stage 3 of the Tour of Utah, the Rally Cycling teammates made sure it stayed within the team the rest of the week.
Kuss, a 22-year-old from Durango, finished ninth in the seven-stage Tour of Utah road cycling race Sunday. The 2017 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic professional men’s road race winner completed the UCI event in 22 hours, 50 minutes, 58 seconds. That was 2:55 behind Britton’s winning time of 22:48:03.
Kuss, who graduated the University of Colorado at Boulder in May, was impressive all week. He finished second to BMC Racing team’s Brent Bookwalter on the Stage 2 climb from Brigham City to Snowbasin Resort. That put him in the overall race leader’s yellow jersey for the first time in his young career.
Canada’s Britton claimed the general classification overall lead after the Stage 3 time trial up Big Cottonwood Canyon and never surrendered it the rest of the week.
Kuss finished 13th in Saturday’s Stage 6 climb from Heber Valley to Snowbird, as he finished in 2:48:15. That was 2:37 behind stage winner Giulio Ciccone of Bardiana CSF. Britton finished fifth on Stage 6 and was 44 seconds behind the stage winner, though he maintained a 26-second lead on Gavin Mannion of the UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team going into the final stage Sunday in Salt Lake City.
Sunday’s final stage measured 73 miles and had 5,450 feet of elevation gain. It was a circuit race with 11 laps through Salt Lake City. The big challenge was the climb of State Street on each lap.
Marco Canola of the Nippo-Vini Fantini team won the final stage in 2:40:18, while Bookwalter was second 2 seconds back. Mannion was third in 2:40:20, but Britton finished in the same time to maintain his lead and win the tour title.
Kuss placed 11th on Stage 7 and was in the group 2 seconds behind Canola.
BMC Racing Team claimed the win in the team standings, with the UnitedHealthcare team second, 1:39 back. Rally Cycling, which was second going into the final two stages, finished fourth in the team standings, 14”35 back of BMC Racing.
Mannion finished second in the GC standings, 22 seconds behind Britton. Serghei Tvetcov of the Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis team was third, 32 seconds behind the winner. Neilson Powless of the Axeon Hagens Berman team placed fourth and won the best young rider’s jersey. Bookwalter was fifth.