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Kuss takes impressive victory as Roglic holds firm in stage 15 of the Vuelta

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Sepp Kuss won the mountainous 15th stage of the Vuelta, while teammate Primoz Roglic withstood a sustained attack by Alejandro Valverde to keep the overall race lead on Sunday.

Kuss pulled clear of a small breakaway group on the final of four climbs to claim the grueling 154.4-kilometer stage from Tineo to a summit finish at Santuario del Acebo.

”It’s pretty big I guess. Honestly it hasn’t quite sunk in,” Kuss said. ”It is an incredible day.”

World champion Valverde launched his attack midway up the last category-one climb and Roglic stuck to his wheel, while the other top riders fell behind. Roglic finished right in front of Valverde, the 2009 Vuelta winner.

Roglic leads Valverde by 2 minutes, 25 seconds.

”We (are) all celebrating this race, it is an incredible day for us again,” Roglic said. ”But we need to be focused until Madrid.”

With one week of racing left, the Vuelta looks like Roglic’s to lose. He took the leader’s red jersey with a dominant performance on the time trial during Stage 10. Only Valverde, who at age 39 is 10 years Roglic’s senior, has been able to match his power and consistency in the mountains.

”The grandpa isn’t finished yet,” Valverde said.

Tadej Pogacar lost time and is third overall at 3:42 back. Miguel Angel Lopez fell to 3:59 back, and Nairo Quintana lost even more time to sit 5:09 off the pace.

Kuss, who won the Tour of Utah last year, crossed 39 seconds ahead of stage runner-up Ruben Guerreiro. The 24-year-old celebrated by giving high fives with fans lining the barriers before the finish line.

”I think that is what makes the Vuelta so special, the passion of the fans,” Kuss said. ”I have good days when you feel their enthusiasm, but on the bad days when you’re 30 minutes behind the winner, they are there to cheer you and give you a push, that is what makes cycling special.”

Monday’s stage is another tough trek in the green northern mountains, taking riders more than 144 kilometers from Pravia to a beyond-category summit finish atop the Alto de la Cubilla.


Vuelta a Espana 2019 – stage 15 results (Tineo – Santuario del Acebo):

1Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma)

4:19:04

2Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin)

+39”

3Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos)

+40”

4Oscar Rodriguez (Euskadi-Murias)

+53”

5Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida)

+01’49”

6Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data)

+02’05”

7Lawson Craddock (EF Education First)

+02’11”

8Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

+02’14”

9Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

,,

10Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal)

+02’48”

11Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)

+02’55”

12Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

,,

13Marc Soler (Movistar)

+03’03”

14Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)

+03’13”

15Ion Izagirre (Astana)

+03’29”

16Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)

+03’50”

17Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

,,

18Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida)

,,

19Sergio Higuita (EF Education First)

,,

20Nicolas Edet (Cofidis)

+04’04”

 

Vuelta a Espana 2019 – general classification after stage 15:

1Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma)

58:10:32

2Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

+02’25”

3Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

+03’42”

4Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)

+03’59”

5Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

+05’09”

6Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)

+07’14”

7Nicolas Edet (Cofidis)

+09’08”

8Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb)

+09’15”

9Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal)

+09’44”

10Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida)

+11’39”

11Sergio Higuita (EF Education First)

+13’28”

12Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott)

+14’58”

13Dylan Teuns (Bahrian-Merida)

+15’14”

14Ion Izagirre (Astana)

+16’06”

15Marc Soler (Movistar)

+16’16”

16Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin)

+16’32”

17James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)

+18’42”

18Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott)

+18’51”

19Kilian Frankiny (Groupama-FDJ)

+22’37”

20Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)

+22’41”