Cycling round-up: Sepp Kuss holds Vuelta a España lead as Fiona Mangan comes home seventh in France

The climbing specialist rose to the challenge in a flat time-trial to finish a respectable 13th

American rider Sepp Kuss continued to lead the Vuelta a España overall after Tuesday’s individual time-trial in in Valladolid, putting in perhaps the best performance of his career in the discipline. The American is known as a pure climbing specialist who has proven invaluable in the mountains for team leaders Primoz Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard, the Tour de France champion.

However, Kuss rose to the challenge in a flat time-trial which didn’t play to his strengths, finishing a respectable 13th and keeping the race leader’s red jersey. He conceded one minute and 29 seconds to the stage winner Filippe Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers), with defending champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) the best of the general classification contenders in second, 16 seconds back.

The Belgian gained 20 seconds on Roglič, 34 on Joâo Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) and 1:02 on Vingegaard, who was 10th.

Kuss’s solid performance sees him keep 1:09 of his 2:22 advantage over Evenepoel. Although the latter more than halved his deficit, Roglič in fourth – 1:39 off the lead – and Vingegaard in 7th, 2:22 back, means that Jumbo-Visma has the numerical and therefore tactical advantage over him.


In France, Fiona Mangan (Cynisca Cycling) took a superb seventh on the opening stage of the 2.1-ranked Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche, finishing towards the front in a mass bunch sprint into Ruoms. Lara Gillespie (UAE Team ADQ) was 12th.

Meanwhile, Rory Townsend (Bolton Equities Black Spoke) was the best-placed Irish rider on stage three of the Tour of Britain. He was ninth in the same time as bunch sprint winner Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma), who outsprinted Danny Van Poppel (Bora-Hansgrohe) for the second day running.

Ryan Mullen was 14 seconds back in 59th while Sam Bennett (both Bora-Hansgrohe) was 1:46 back in 78th. Townsend is a fine 10th overall and with no time bonuses on the stages, is level on time with Kooij.

At home, Ireland’s top race for women gets under way on Wednesday with the first of five days of competition. The Rás na mBan will feature a strong domestic and international field, including a gifted Irish national team.

This includes Lucy Benezet Minns, who was recently fourth in the junior world championships time-trial, and who has gained selection for the Irish elite squad for the race despite only being a first year junior.

Also on the team are new national criterium champion Mia Griffin, sisters Caoimhe and Aoife O’Brien plus Erin Creighton.

The race begins on Wednesday with a 74.2km stage from Kilkenny to Callan, and runs until Sunday.

Rás na mBan 2023

Wednesday, Stage 1: Kilkenny-Callan (74.2km)

Thursday, Stage 2: Kilkenny-The Rower (100.9km)

Friday, Stage 3: Portlaoise-Mountrath (104.4km)

Saturday, Stage 4: Tramoe-Tramore (102.7km)

Sunday, Stage 5: Kilkenny Castle TT (2.5km) and stage 6: Kilkenny Castle Criterium (1hr + 5 laps).

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes is a contributor to The Irish Times writing about cycling