Sepp Kuss was the dream lieutenant, the luxury teammate, he is now also the crowned leader. The American wins the 2023 Vuelta ahead of his teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic. The last link in the imperial collective of the Jumbo-Visma on the Giro and on the Tour, Sepp Kuss this time triumphed in his name, in front of those he supports all year. For services rendered, Jumbo-Visma offered him this coronation, which he first sought by winning stage 6 in Javalambre in a breakaway. The three minutes that the other leaders gave him that day will never have been filled. Sepp Kuss is the second rider in history to win a Grand Tour having raced all three in the same season, after Gastone Nencini who won the Giro in 1957.
He undoubtedly allowed Primoz Roglic to win the 2023 Giro, by always being at his side when the Slovenian was in difficulty in the mountains. And if Jonas Vingegaard would perhaps have won the Tour de France without his help this year, that does not take away from the mark that Sepp Kuss will leave in the memories. Vuelta 2019, Vuelta 2020, Vuelta 2021, Tour 2022, Giro 2023, Tour 2023: Sepp Kuss was part of all his team’s Grand Tour victories, whether to help Primoz Roglic or Jonas Vingegaard. He is the team member who launches his leaders towards often inevitable success, this “gregario” who dominates the leaders and asphyxiates the favorites in the mountains. He is now a Grand Tour winner, but also a predicted favorite for those he will compete in the future.
Two triplets for history
Jumbo-Visma dominated this Vuelta like no team had ever dominated a Grand Tour. Proof that it was untouchable in the mountains, the Dutch team scored two hat-tricks on the two main stages, at the top of Tourmalet and Angliru. It places Sepp Kuss, Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic in the first three places in the General Classification of this Tour of Spain, leaving the fourth, Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), more than two minutes from the podium. Jumbo-Visma is the second team in history to achieve a hat-trick in a Grand Tour, after the KAS team in the 1966 edition of the Vuelta (only nine teams participated).
Above all, the Jumbo-Visma enters the legend by achieving the first “Grand Slam” in history: winning the three Grand Tours in the same year. Primoz Roglic had triumphed in the Giro d’Italia by overthrowing Geraint Thomas in the final time trial, Jonas Vingegaard had dominated Tadej Pogacar in the Tour de France, and the two stars let their faithful lieutenant win the Vuelta a España for close this historic season. Wearing for the occasion a special jersey in the colors of the three Tours (pink, yellow and red), the Jumbo-Visma worthily celebrated this triumph on the last stage of the Vuelta, this Sunday, September 17 in Madrid.
Combative Evenepoel, Dominant Groves
Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) failed in his quest for the double: he did not retain his title in this Vuelta. He even only finished 12th in the General Classification, after the failure which caused him to lose more than 27 minutes at the Tourmalet on stage 13. However, the Belgian undoubtedly emerges from this Tour of Spain with satisfaction: winner of three stages , winner of the white jersey with blue polka dots for best climber, voted “super-combative” and on the attack almost every day. If doubts remain about his ability to be at the level of the best in the world in high mountains over three weeks, he has shown once again that he has the temperament and legs of a great champion. To the point of competing with Vingegaard and Pogacar in the Tour de France, which he should compete in 2024?
The field of sprinters was certainly very thin on this Tour of Spain, but Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) knew how to take advantage of it by showing great consistency. Winner of three stages and the green jersey in the points classification, the Australian confirmed his status as a world-class sprinter. He won the greatest victory of his career on the last stage of this Vuelta, following with panache the attack of the best riders in the world (Remco Evenepoel and Filippo Ganna) to beat them in the sprint after nearly 40 kilometers of ‘escape. Frenchman Geoffrey Soupe (Total-Energies) also leaves with his biggest victory, winning the first Grand Tour stage of his career at the age of 35, in a sprint on the 7th stage.
Youth is getting tougher
At the dawn of their career, some runners already hold the promise of a brilliant zenith. The Tour of Spain has the custom of revealing the future headliners of cycling, and this edition was no exception to the rule. Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates), 21 years old and 3rd in the Vuelta last year, takes 4th place in the General Ranking, first behind Jumbo-Visma. He continues to learn and confirms his regularity, before perhaps reaching a milestone in 2024. For his first Grand Tour, Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished 8th in the General Classification at 20 years old, and second in the ranking of the best young people . Already 9th in the Tour de Catalunya, 6th in the Tour de Romandie and 7th in the Tour de Suisse, the Belgian once again demonstrated his reliability in stage races, this time over three weeks.
The Frenchman Lenny Martinez (Groupama FDJ) is perhaps not yet as consistent at the same age and he will have finished his first Grand Tour with more difficulty. But he showed formidable abilities in the mountains, finishing second at Javalambre behind Sepp Kuss, and above all wearing the red jersey for two days. His teammate Romain Grégoire, also 20 years old, came even closer to a victory at Laguna Negra, only beaten at the finish by Jesús Herrada (Cofidis). Finn Fisher-Black, Max Poole, Lennert Van Eetvelt, Lorenzo Germani and even Lewis Askey, all under the age of 23 and competing in their first Grand Tour, also distinguished themselves with notable breakaways or top 10 finishes on certain stages. In 2024, you will undoubtedly have the opportunity to hear about these runners in the biggest races on the calendar.
Stage classification and general classification
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Here is the definitive general classification of this Vuelta 2023 with the triumph of the Jumbo.