Sepp Kusss achieves glory in La Vuelta a España 2023
La Vuelta a España 2023 ends with the unexpected but well-deserved victory of the hard-working American Sepp Kuss, who was followed on the podium by his teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic, winners of the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia respectively, thus culminating Jumbo-Visma's perfect season.
Jumbo-Visma certifies its dominance in the majors this year by topping the podium of La Vuelta 2023
The monologue of Jumbo-Visma in La Vuelta a España 2023 comes to an end in a year in which they barely missed the Paris Nice, won by Tadej Pogacar, or the Tour de Suisse, won by Mattias Skjelmose. The rest of the main stage races, including the three big ones, have gone to Jumbo-Visma riders, especially Primoz Roglic who with Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya and Giro d'Italia culminates a spectacular calendar, as well as his teammate Jonas Vingegaard who has managed to add Itzulia and Critérium du Dauphiné to the Tour de France.
With these precedents, the victory in La Vuelta that ended today seemed to be decided before the start in favor of one of these two cyclists. What was not expected was the breakaway that took place in the 6th stage on the way to the Observatorio de Javalambre and in which, although the lead fell temporarily in the hands of Lenny Martínez, it left us stalking one of the best riders in the peloton as Sepp Kuss, one of those super-luxury support riders who are always with their leaders until the final stages of the most decisive stages and that, in this season 2023 accumulated the feat of having disputed the three grand tours.
He strengthened his candidacy for the victory and started a problem within Jumbo-Visma when after the stage with the finish in Xorret de Catí he not only held with the favorites without any problem but he was placed as leader of the overall. Although he couldn't have imagined it at the time, he wouldn't stop wearing it until Madrid.
In any case, at that moment all eyes were focused on the man to beat, the reigning winner of the race, Remco Evenepoel, who had been tremendously solid in the first week, winning the first mountain stage in Andorra. However, Remco was unable to assert his power in the Valladolid time trial, which opened up uncertainty in the overall. On the other hand, Sepp Kuss rode a splendid stage that only strengthened his lead.
Thus we arrived at the Pyrenean stages that were to clearly define the race and, at the first moment of change, Remco Evenepoel succumbed in a stage with the Tourmalet finish in which Jumbo-Visma began to push and, without even knowing it, internal tensions began with an ambitious Jonas Vingegaard who made a strong attack that left him within striking distance of the lead and achieved a prestigious stage victory.
Tensions that would reach their peak a few days later on the arrival at the fearsome Angliru where Sepp Kuss managed to save the red jersey by the skin of his teeth in the face of an offensive by his own teammates.
From there, after the relevant meeting between the riders and the team directors, peace returned to the Dutch team and it was decided that, barring an unexpected failure, Sepp Kuss was worthy of the red jersey and would be protected as befits the leader.
Of the rest of the contenders for the red jersey we can say little. We saw some battle on the Tourmalet but, from there on, nothing. Neither Juan Ayuso nor Enric Mas have shown any offensive capacity. Only Mikel Landa and his Bahrain-Victorious showed a little more ambition, although with more desire than strength.
Only the show of Remco Evenepoel who, after losing his chances for the overall, went after stages with tremendous rage has managed to save the last week and a half of La Vuelta 2023 for the spectator.
Thus we arrived at the last stage, with a traditional route around the city of Madrid to reach the usual circuit between the Paseo del Prado and the streets Alcalá and Gran Vía with the only incentive to know if Kaden Groves would manage to certify his triplet of stages or would have to settle for the two achieved during the first week.
Before starting this almost festive day in terms of competition, we knew from the mouth of Javier Guillén, General Director of Unipublic, that the start of the next edition of La Vuelta would be held in the city of Lisbon, probably with an individual time trial and with the first stages through Portuguese lands.
Once we reached the final circuit, the pace accelerated and the real competition began, something that, no matter who you ask, although it seems to be a day's ride, is one of the most intense moments of each Vuelta. As usual, there were always brave riders who tried more for show than with any hope of finishing.
This time it was the Bora-Hansgrohe riders Nico Denz and Lennard Kämna in the company of Rui Costa. When we all imagined the usual script in which they would be caught in the last kilometers, the surprise came when Remco Evenepoel himself made a hard attack and was closely followed by Kaden Groves as the points classification was still up in the air. They were joined by 3 riders from INEOS Grenadiers: Omar Fraile, Kim Heiduk and Filippo Ganna. The first two riders gave their all to lead Omar, Groves and Remco to the front before exploding, proof of the intense pace.
From there, they maintained a hard pulse with the peloton, reaching more than 30 seconds of difference that were reducing by fatigue and the high pace set by the peloton. Even so, they reached the last pass through the finish line with a 15-second advantage that made them dream of victory. However, the typical stop and surveillance a few hundred meters from the finish line made the peloton reach them, a moment that Remco took advantage of to try to surprise and almost succeeded, taking everyone out of the wheel except a powerful Kaden Groves who knew how to react to return to Evenepoel's wheel and overtake him in the last meters, rounding off his green jersey with a fantastic triplet of stages.
Stage 21 Classification
- Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 2h24’13’’
- Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) +00’’
- Nico Denz (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00’’
- Hugo Page (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) +00’’
- Iván García Cortina (Movistar Team) +00’’
- Rui Costa (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) +00’’
- Maarijn Van Den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) +00’’
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) +00’’
- Dries Van Gestel (TotalEnergies) +00’’
- Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00’’
- Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 76h48’21’’
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +17’’
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +01’08’’
- Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) +03’44’’
- Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) +04’03’’
- Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +04’14’’
- Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora-Hansgrohe) +08’06’’
- Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) +08’13’’
- Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +10’08’’
- Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) +11’51’’
- Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 315 pts
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) 236 pts
- Andreas Kron (Lotto-Dstny) 167 pts
- Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) 133 pts
- Jonas Vingagaard (Jumbo-Visma) 123 pts
- Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 119 pts
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 117 pts
- Marijn Van Den Berg (EF Education-EasyPost) 117 pts
- Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 112 pts
- Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) 105 pts
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) 135 pts
- Jonas Vingagaard (Jumbo-Visma) 51 pts
- Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ) 39 pts
- Romain Bardet (DSM-Firmenich) 35 pts
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 33 pts
- Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) 33 pts
- Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) 30 pts
- Andreas Kron (Lotto-Dstny) 28 pts
- Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto-Dstny) 23 pts
- Jesús Herrada (Cofidis) 22 pts
- Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) 76h51’46’’
- Cian Uijtdebroeks (Bora-Hansgrohe) +04’48’’
- Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) +06’43’’
- Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious) +08’26’’
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) +13’19’’
- Einer Rubio (Movistar Team) +31’34’’
- Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain-Victorious) +46’48’’
- Attila Valter (Jumbo-Visma) +01h02’17’’
- Lenny Martinez (Groupama-FDJ) +01h18’16’’
- Lennert Van Eetvelt (Lotto-Dstny) +01h45’27’’
- Jumbo-Visma 229h42’26’’
- Bahrain-Victorious +21’09’’
- Bora-Hansgrohe +33’07’’
- UAE Team Emirates +33’53’’
- Movistar Team +02h17’33’’
- Soudal-QuickStep +03h18’40’’
- TotalEnergies +03h29’29’’
- Groupama-FDJ +03h42’37’’
- Lidl-Trek +04h00’42’’
- Arkea-Samsic +04h23’49’’
- Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep)