SAINT-GERVAIS, France –Two impressive stages Friday and Saturday set up Durango’s Sepp Kuss for a good finish, while Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas won the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday in France.
Adam Yates claimed the final stage of the warmup race for the Tour de France. Yates, who attacked several times in the stage finale, managed to overtake Dani Navarro on the last curve of the final climb to Saint-Gervais, in the French Alps, just about 50 yards from the finish line.
Navarro finished second, four seconds back, with Romain Bardet completing the podium, nine seconds off the pace.
Thomas suffered in the final half mile of the grueling 84½-mile trek featuring three punishing ascents and finished the stage in fifth place, 19 seconds back. The Welsh rider, who had two punctures, retained the leader’s jersey with a one-minute lead over Yates overall.
It was Thomas’ second World Tour stage race win after he won Paris-Nice in 2016.
Kuss finished the final stage in 82nd, 21:03 back of Yates’ winning time. The tough result came on the heels of two great climbing performances for the 23-year-old Durango native who rides for Team LottoNL-Jumbo. He had placed 28th on Stage 5 and 26th on Stage 6 for his two best performances of the week. Saturday’s result placed him 28th overall in the general classification. Sunday’s finish put him 34th, as he finished 38:16 back of Thomas’ time.
Kuss entered Sunday as the top American in the general classification. He finished as the second American in the field, as Ian Boswell climbed into 32nd roughly 4½ minutes ahead of Kuss.
Kuss finished ahead of the likes of Brent Bookwalter, and American for BMC Racing Team, who was 37th, 41:36 back. In all, 112 riders completed the race.
Kuss finished 11th in the best young rider standings. That honor went to France’s Pierre Roger Latour of the AG2R La Mondiale team.
Durango’s Quinn Simmons continued to show his prowess on a road bike, as the junior mountain bike national champion won the fourth and final stage of the Junior Nation’s Cup race Sunday in Saarland, Germany.
The final stage was a 76-mile route. Simmons finished in 2 hours, 42 minutes, 29 seconds to finish three seconds ahead of the chase group. Norway’s Søren Waerenskjold was second, followed by Italy’s Gabriele Matteucci. Riley Sheehan of the U.S. was 17th, and American Alistair Pounder was 28th. Also for the U.S., Sean Quinn placed 61st, Kevin Vermaerke was 93rd and Kendrick Boots was 94th. Ninety-eight riders completed the race.
“I attacked about eight kilometers into the stage, bringing five other guys with me,” Simmons said in a message to The Durango Herald. “We got a gap of about a minute that held for the majority of the stage. I was able to win all the sprints and two king of the mountain points.
“At six kilometers to go, the peloton was about 20 seconds back, so I attacked and went solo from there.”
Simmons won the green jersey as the top sprinter of the race. He racked up 18 sprint points and finished seven ahead of Waerenskjold.
Simmons was fourth in the king of the mountain standings with 10 points across the four stages. Gilles Kirsch of Luxembourg won the polka dot jersey with 25 points.
In the general classification, Simmons placed 78th with a total time of 10:40:08. He was 11:35 back of the winning time of Waerenskjold.
Simmons will stay in Europe for three mountain bike races before he will return to the U.S. in July for mountain bike and road nationals. This is Simmons’ first year competing on the road bike, and he has already earned USA Cycling national team honors for his impressive efforts.
“Definitely amazing to get a win in a Nations Cup,” Simmons said. “Made even better by coming away with the overall sprint jersey.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.