Stay Home Stories: Antwan Tolhoek
In the column ‘Stay Home Stories’, the cyclists of Team Jumbo-Visma talk about t...
Sepp Kuss has climbed to sixth place on the mythical Mont Ventoux during the third stage of the Tour de la Provence. The American crossed the finish line in a group with Thibaut Pinot and Wilco Kelderman, just over two minutes from stage winner and the new overall leader Nairo Quintana. In the overall classification, Kuss moved up to eight place.
The one hundred and forty kilometres long stage from Istres was immediately controlled by the GC teams. A leading group of five riders got a maximum lead of six minutes, but the last escapee Remi Cavagna got caught in the early kilometres of the ascent of the Ventoux. Team Jumbo-Visma was still in front with the entire team and brought their climbers Kuss and Gesink in an ideal position to the final climb.
Kuss was the only one who tried to counter Quintana’s attack, but initially had to pay the price for his efforts. The American had to recover for a while, but he pulled through and rode a strong climb. Gesink also rode a good stage as he finished in the top twenty as well, in eighteenth place.
“I felt good. Better than expected actually”, Kuss explained. “I didn’t think I could do this so early in the season. The team did a fantastic job, putting Robert and me in an ideal position for the final climb. It is not in my nature to ride defensively, but more offensively. So I tried by responding to Nairo’s and a number of other attacks. I had to recover from that for a while, but in the end I got through it again and tried to get a nice result. It was a good day for me and the team.”
The Tour de la Provence will finish tomorrow with a hilly mountain stage to Aix-en-Provence. “I’m going to try to hold on to my top ten ranking and help my teammates where possible”, Kuss continued. “The team has helped me a lot in the recent days, so it would be nice if I could give something back to them if it turns out to be a sprint of a reduced peloton. Normally, I need more races and training to get into shape. The fact that I already reach this level in February gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the season.”