Durangoan Sepp Kuss made history by winning the Vuelta a España’s general classification on Sunday.
After Primoz Roglic's victory in the Giro d'Italia and Jonas Vingegaard's victory in the Tour de France, Team Jumbo-Visma completed a unique trilogy with Kuss' final victory in the Vuelta a España.
For the first time in cycling history, the same team won all three grand tours in the same season.
After the eighth stage, Kuss, part of this year's winning teams in Italy and France, took the red leader's jersey. The Durangoan never relinquished it for the rest of the Spanish race. Flanked by teammates Vingegaard and Roglic, the 29-year-old shone on the top step of the podium in Madrid.
“This is like a fairy tale,” Kuss said. “With Primoz winning in Italy and Jonas winning in France earlier this year, I wanted to be part of this team chasing the overall victory in the Vuelta. Standing here as the overall winner is something I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams.”
Kuss became the first American to win a grand tour since Chris Horner won the Vuelta in 2013. The only other official U.S. grand tour victories are Greg LeMond’s Tour de France wins in 1986, 1989 and 1990 and Andrew Hampsten’s Giro d'Italia win in 1988.
“It will take a while for this to sink in,” Kuss said, struggling to find the words to describe his triumph. “At some point, I felt it was possible. I was getting stronger and more confident every day. When you add that to the team's strength, you can take on the whole world. I have grown wings in the last few weeks. I am eternally grateful to Jonas, Primoz and the others for their support. This is an achievement I will remember for the rest of my life. The same goes for the support of the fans from all over the world. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this success story. Together, we have made history.”
“This is phenomenal,” said Team Jumbo-Visma CEO Richard Plugge. “The fact that we are also first, second and third on the podium makes it truly exceptional. Winning the three grand tours with three different riders in the same year is the crowning achievement of the last 10 years. It is a milestone written in golden letters in the history book that Team Jumbo-Visma is writing. Even after this triumph, we will continue to evaluate and see what could be even better. There is no time to sit still in top sports. The competition is getting stronger and stronger, so we cannot let up or become complacent. It is not that we are saturated now. We are doing something unique. I have to pinch myself to realize that this is really true. We are going to enjoy it with the whole team. We have managed to do it together again.”
Team Jumbo-Visma won five stages in the Vuelta, with Kuss winning Stage 6 and Roglic and Vingegaard winning two apiece. Jumbo-Visma also won the team classification of the Spanish race.