Sepp Kuss: How A Kid from Durango Won the Biggest Bike Race in Spain

Written by : Mr Mamil
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Sepp Kuss - The Durango Kid
Sepp Kuss, the kid from Durango, Colorado

How Sepp Kuss won the 2023 Vuelta Espana

The Vuelta Espana is Sepp Kuss’s third Grand Tour for the year, after being the key domestique for Primoz Roglic’s Giro d’Italia win in May and Jonas Vingegaard’s Tour de France win in July. He started the Vuelta Espana as the key domestique.

On stage 6, Sepp was part of a 40-man breakaway where he gained 2:41 from Remco Evenepoel, the defending champion. This move put him in second place in the General Classification. The next day, Sepp took over the race lead and into the red jersey, becoming the first American after Chris Horner in 10 years to do so.

He would hold onto the race lead all the way to Madrid.

Team Jumbo-Visma, Tour de France, Giro'd Italia and Vuelta Espana Winners
2023 Tour de France (left), Vuelta Espana (center) and Giro’d Italia (right)

With Sepp Kuss winning the Vuelta Espana, Team Jumbo-Visma set a new record in professional cycling;

  • Winning all three Grand Tours in the same calendar year.
  • Winning all three Grand Tours in the same calendar year, with three different riders.
  • Finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd on the General Classification.
  • Winning two stages (13 and 17) in 1st, 2nd and 3rd position.

Here are the interesting and unknown facts about Sepp Kuss

Sepp Kuss Profile Photo

Rider profile

  • Date of birth: 13th September 1994
  • Nationality: American
  • Height: 1.80m (5′ 10″)
  • Weight: 61kg (134 lbs)
  • Place of Birth: Durango, Colorado, United States
  • Team: Team Jumbo-Visma
  • Nickname: The Durango Kid
  • Social media: Strava, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Website

The early days of Sepp Kuss

  • Sepp Kuss was born on 13 September 1994 in Durango, Colorado in the United States.
  • He comes from a family with deep roots in Nordic skiing. His father, Dolph Kuss competed for the national Nordic ski team in the 1950s before coaching the U.S. Ski Team from 1963 to 1972, including the Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria (1964) and Sapporo, Japan (1972). 
  • His mum, Sabina Kuss was a cross-country ski instructor at Durango Nordic and a world masters competitor.
  • He was into Nordic skiing, ice skating, and mountain biking when he was a kid. According to Kuss, “When I was young, growing up in Durango, none of my friends rode road bikes. It was almost lame to ride a road bike. Why would you ride a road bike when you can go mountain biking and it’s so much more fun and cool?

A competitive mountain biker

Sepp Kuss Mountain Biking
Sepp Kuss competing in a mountain bike race in 2013
  • He started riding competitively in 2005 (aged 11) and raced mountain bikes in his junior and university years.
  • He is a three-time National Collegiate Championships winner, winning three titles for the University of Colorado Boulder in both XC(2014, 2015) and Short Track (2014).
  • He raced in the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Lillehammer, Norway, finishing 36th in the under-23 cross-country race. He finished 48th in 2015.
  • He switched to road racing in 2015, while studying at the University of Colorado.
  • He graduated with a degree in advertising from the University of Colorado in 2017. He once said, “I’d like to take cycling as far as I can once I finish my degree. It’s all about finding a balance.

Road racing career

Sepp Kuss wins sixth stage 2023 Vuelta a España in style
Sepp Kuss wins the Stage 6 of 2023 Vuelta a España
  • Sepp’s road racing career started in 2016 when he signed for Rally Cycling and raced in the UCI Continental circuit in North America. His impressive climbing capabilities at the 2017 Tour of California caught the attention of Team Jumbo-Visma (then Team LottoNL-Jumbo) and they signed him from 2018 onwards. He has only ridden for one team in the World Tour since 2018.
  • Kuss is the ideal super-domestique for his team leaders Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic. He is always the last teammate to lead his team leaders up the high mountains. 
  • According to his mum, Sabina, ‘He enjoys the teamwork and knowing that everybody gets their chance eventually. He loves the camaraderie and not having the only goal of winning. It’s the process of what it takes to get to the final finish line at good speed.’
  • Sepp has eight professional wins in his career. His wins include two Vuelta Espana stages, one Tour de France stage, and one Criterium du Dauphine stage.
  • His race weight is around 61 kg (134 lb).

Success on the road

Team Jumbo-Visma Stage 21 Tour de France 2023
Sepp Kuss was an integral part of Jonas Vingegaard’s Tour de France win
  • Sepp is riding his third Grand Tour in 2023; Giro d’Italia (May), Tour de France (July), and Vuelta Espana (September). 
  • In 2021, he was the first American to win a Tour de France stage in 10 years after Tyler Farrar. Sepp won stage 15 that finished near his home in Andorra.
  • He has ridden 12 grand tours since 2018; Giro d’Italia (2), Tour de France (4) and Vuelta Espana (6).
  • He is the first American in 10 years to wear the Vuelta Espana’s leader jersey (red) since Chris Horner in 2013. He took over the race lead after Stage 7 from Lenny Martinez.
  • He is only the second American to win the Vuelta Espana, after Chris Horner in 2013.

Personal life off the bike

  • Kuss is married to his wife, Noemi Ferre (born on 24 November 1991). Noemi is a Spanish, ex-professional cyclist who rode for Massi-Tactic from 2019 to 2020. They exchanged their wedding vows on 22 October 2022 in Mas Palau Blanes in Girona in front of family and friends.
  • They live in Andorra with their mini Doodle named Bimba.
  • He’s a big fan of 3-times Road World Champion, Peter Sagan. In 2016, when asked one person he could sit and have lunch with, he answered Peter Sagan.
  • He speaks German and Spanish besides English.