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Kuss: It was “before” Angliru and “after” it, which I think is fair



The American feels that he deserved the red shirt of the leader on the road

After two days of free hands and feet and attacks on the leader’s own shirt, the bosses of Jumba Visma pulled the handbrake and followed the unwritten rules of cycling and decided, to the satisfaction of the cycling public, that Sepp Kuss would win the 78th Tour of Spain.

Two meetings, two different commands. On the second free day around Santander, the leading three cyclists of this year’s cycle tour of Spain, with the blessing of the Jumbo Visma team management, agreed that the road will decide. They are in the final stages Sepp Kuss, Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič given the go-ahead to go head-to-head, provided their leading three places in the La Vuelta 23 standings are not threatened.

“We talked about what happened in the two stages before Angliru, so it was ‘before’ Angliru and ‘after’ it, which I think is fair,” after Thursday’s 18th stage, Sepp Kuss confirmed both meetings and conclusions. “There was a lot of negativity on social media about these two stages, which made it hard to read what we had agreed on the plan before Angliru.”

I can only speak for myself, I left everything on the road and I feel that I have earned this place.

Sepp Kuss

At both stage finishes on the Bejes and Angliro mountains, there were actually attacks by paper co-captains on a teammate wearing the leader’s shirt. Competitors from other teams no longer threatened the leading three, but the two-time winner of the Tour de France reduced the gap of 1:44 to only 8 seconds in two days.

Barring force majeure and some unforeseen complication, Kuss will become the second American to win the Tour of Spain.  In 2013, Chris Horner also celebrated surprisingly, at the age of 41, breaking the record by five years and becoming the oldest grand tour winner in cycling history.  Photo: ASO/Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency

The Dutch team’s PR disaster

When Roglič sped up under the top of Angliru, Vingegaard did not stay with Kuss, he was virtually about to undress his loyal assistant, while the Slovenian would have needed more than a minute to do something like this… In the end, the American has the key help on the worst climb in Spain offered by Mikel Landa. For four seconds on the road and four seconds bonus for stage 3rd place. Kuss went to Angliru to apologize to Basque because he had to overtake him at all costs on the descent before the finish line.

Commentators, professional and fan, were plebiscitarily horrified, online forums were on fire, Jumbo Visma was on the brink of public relations disaster. When Kuss went on the radio at the moment of disconnection two kilometers below the summit of Angliru, the team’s official account immediately tweeted the words “Let’s go guys!” as a kind of license for a paper co-captain. But when at the finish line, chief sports director Grischa Niermann admitted that they had not heard or even seen this conversation.

Things changed mid-race

“We never imagined that we would be the strongest three guys in the race and it complicated things in a way that we were less responsive to others and more looking for ways or wanting to win, which is completely normal. So after yesterday we had to calm down and understand the bigger picture,” Kuss admitted that, after heated moves and heated passions, the bosses had nevertheless determined that the order should remain as it had been according to Angliru. The supreme leader almost certainly had the last word Richard Pluggewho just joined the team on Wednesday.

“I didn’t go into this season or this race thinking or wanting to lead. I was perfectly happy with my role as assistant, but then, as we know, halfway through this race things changed a lot for me so now I was in a position leaders. When we spoke on the day off I had a bit of impostor syndrome, I didn’t know if it was my place to say how things should be. But every day I believe more in myself that I fully deserve the leader’s jersey and to receive team support,” the 29-year-old from Durango in the state of Colorado told the leader’s press conference.

Angliru cemented the pecking order

For the Dutch cycling team, which is about to achieve a historic feat – winning all three three-week races of the season – they regularly emphasize the plan and its execution. But the contradictory moves on the road and contradictory words confused the public. So what was the plan really?

After discussion, a solution was found in the spirit of “samenwinnen”
“We had a really great starting point, the likes of which have never been seen before. It’s not exactly a textbook solution. We needed everything to evaluate the stages, the race. It’s important that we came up with a plan, that we talked. Everyone gave their opinion, like has always been since the winter. It was a discussion that we also want. We found a solution, which always works for us, which is why we are so successful. ‘Samenwinnen’, we win together, that’s the only way we can be successful if we all do well we work together. The ultimate goal is to win the Tour of Spain,” Jumbo Visma CEO Richard Plugge told The Cycling Podcast.

“We wanted everyone to leave feeling like they could leave everything on the road, which turned into a potentially difficult situation, especially watching on TV or understanding what was going on,” Kuss agreed that it was difficult for cycling enthusiasts to understand what was going on with the bees. “That was the idea. I speak only for myself, I left everything on the road and I feel that I deserved this place. And after everything was more concrete in terms of the general classification, we decided to race as we saw today” concluded the super assistant, who is three days away from a career success.

According to records, reports and observations in Spain, the Vingegaard-Roglič duel took place in the mountains of Cantabria and Asturias in the past few days for the status of the first trump at the next Tour de France... If both champions say that they are giving a joint victory to their loyal assistant Kuss, then each other there wasn't much communication or mention anymore.  Photo: ASO/Rafa Gomez/SprintCyclingAgency

A dream Vuelta, with strange feelings

The century-old unwritten rule of not attacking the leading rider from one’s own team was too strong for the black and yellow to insist on assurances to both Roglič and Vingegaard that they would be able to show their (over)power on the road. As seen in the 18th stage, by far the strongest team in the Vuelta will now race conservatively to Madrid. Five stage victories, the first three places in the overall total (for the first time since 1966!) and the conquest of all three grand tours still give Jumbu Visma the most dominant victory in modern cycling history.

“I’m getting closer, tomorrow is an easier stage, but the 20th stage is long and difficult. We got rid of the high mountains, but there are still some difficult climbs ahead of us. I have to stay focused,” the now undisputed leader of both the team and the Race to Spain concluded the meeting with the journalists.

Roglič: I have my own thoughts about it, but I will work for a common goal
After the end of the 18th stage, Primož Roglič stopped away from the finish area with David Črmelj for a statement to TV Slovenija, Daniel Friebe (The Cycling Podcast) was also there, who first asked the Slovenian champion about the criticism he received because of his frank interview after the 17th stage. “Everyone has their own opinion, including myself, but I don’t really care about that,” retorted the eagle from Zasava on this topic. Afterwards, the 33-year-old Zasavec confirmed that the free hand at the Jumbo Visma team is over: “Exactly. Our bosses decided last night that the overall classification should be as it is. We will try to maintain it. I have my own thoughts on that, but I will work for the common goal.”

Source: Rtvslo

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