Vuelta a España winner Sepp Kuss ‘deserves all the chances’ for future races

Spanish Tour sees team helper become a surprise winner of cycling’s third Grand Tour

Vuelta a España winner Sepp Kuss’s team-mate Jonas Vingegaard has said that the American’s surprise win in the race has earned him the right to take on bigger targets in upcoming seasons, even if that impacts on the help he provides the Danish rider.

“Obviously if he wants to, he will get the chances in the future, for sure,” Tour de France champion Vingegaard told media over the weekend. “I hope for Sepp he will want to, because he is so good that he deserves all the chances.

“Obviously then I will lose a super-great helper in the mountains but Sepp deserves all the chances he will get.”

The final race in Madrid was won on Sunday by Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), one of six riders in a breakaway group caught just before the sprint, but who still took the top three places on the stage.


Kuss finished safely in the main bunch, ending the race 17 seconds clear of Vingegaard and 1′08 ahead of their team-mate Primož Roglič.

It marked the first time in over 50 years that one team took all three places on the podium, and the first time ever for a squad to win the three Grand Tours in the same season.

Roglič won the Giro d’Italia in May, while Vingegaard raced to his second consecutive Tour victory in July.

It remains to be seen if Kuss will specifically target Grand Tour success in the future, and how this might change the dynamics of a team previously based around the other two riders.

He has played a vital role in the Grand Tour successes of his two team-mates, being present for all six of their victories. He helped Vingegaard take those Tour wins in 2022 and 2023, and paved the way for Roglič's three Vuelta a España successes between 2019 and 2021, as well as this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Kuss went into the Vuelta determined to help one of the two to win the race overall, yet found himself with a 2′52 minute boost over them when he made it into a key breakaway on stage six, winning the stage.

He took over the race lead two days later and held the red jersey right through to the end. Both Vingegaard and Roglič took time out of him with attacks in the final week, closing to eight seconds and 1′08 back respectively on Wednesday’s stage, but then rowing in fully behind him after criticism of their tactics.

They were generous in their praise of Kuss this weekend, lauding him for the achievement.

In winning the race he became the first American Grand Tour champion in a decade, and only the fourth ever after Greg LeMond, Andy Hampsten and Chris Horner.

The Vuelta lacked an Irish presence after Eddie Dunbar withdrew in the opening week. The Jayco-AlUla team leader had finished a fine seventh overall in the Giro d’Italia in May and was aiming to improve on that result, but crashed twice in the opening team time trial, and then fell again on stage five.

He avoided fractures but withdrew due to the accumulation of injuries. His coach has told The Irish Times that he is back training and aiming to return to competition in the CRO Race in Croatia on September 26th.

A bigger Irish presence is expected in future years, with Sam Bennett likely to get more Grand Tour opportunities once he moves teams, and with Ben Healy, Darren Rafferty and Archie Ryan to compete at WorldTour level with the EF Education-EasyPost team next season.

Shane Stokes

Shane Stokes

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