The toughest stage of the 2018 Amgen Tour of California was the best for Durango’s Sepp Kuss.
The 23-year-old professional cyclist for Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished 26th Friday on the 123-mile sixth stage. The route featured nearly 16,000 feet of climbing, which suited the skill set of Kuss, who a year ago finished 10th on the biggest climbing stage at the Tour of California when the race finished atop Mt. Baldy.
Friday’s stage was a climb from nearly start to finish with a climbing finish at Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe.
Kuss finished the stage in 5 hours, 36 minutes, 8 seconds, which was 5:10 off the winning time of Colombia’s Egan Bernal of Team Sky. Bernal reclaimed the general classification lead with the stage win and is poised to finish off the weeklong race in the leader’s yellow jersey Saturday.
Kuss moved up to 43rd in the GC and is 24:16 behind the total time of Bernal. Kuss said he hasn’t had his best fitness this week, but he still is more than 13 minutes ahead of world champion Peter Sagan along with several other big names in UCI WorldTour cycling.
The seven-stage race will conclude Saturday. It is an 89-mile route around Sacramento that features virtually no climbing.