Sepp Kuss won the Vuelta on Sunday to become the first American to win a grand tour since Chris Horner earned the Vuelta victory in 2013.
Kuss had effectively secured the victory ahead of Sunday’s largely ceremonial stage, when rivals in the Spanish capital respected his lead and did not launch any attacks as per cycling tradition.
“It’s incredible. I think today was the stage that I suffered the most of the whole race, now I’m just glad it’s over,” Kuss said. “It’s life-changing for sure. I think I’ll look back on this experience with a lot of fun memories. It’s still sinking in, I think it’s gonna take quite some time. Now, a big celebration. Family, friends are here, and that’s gonna be really special.”
It was a surprising victory for Kuss, who entered the race in a supporting role to his Jumbo-Visma teammates Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic.
Vingegaard and Roglic finished second and third overall, respectively, capping a dominant performance and a historic treble for Jumbo-Visma, which swept all three Grand Tour races this year. Roglic won the Giro d’Italia in May and Vingegaard repeated as Tour de France champion in July.
Kuss crossed the line along with his teammates, who were all wearing a special jersey in honor of the team’s treble.
Kaden Groves prevailed in the final sprint to win the last stage.
Kuss took the lead in the eighth stage and never relinquished it despite being pushed hard by his teammates a few times. The American held his own on difficult climbs up the Col du Tourmalet and the Angliru, ending the three-week race with a 17-second advantage.
The final stage began at Madrid’s horse-racing track and ended with riders taking laps around some of the iconic monuments in the Spanish capital.
Kuss took it easy within the peloton and was celebrated by his rivals and fans who lined Madrid’s streets.
Last year’s champion, Remco Evenepoel, ended as King of the Mountains and became the first Belgian to win the Vuelta’s most combative award. Groves became the first Australian to win the points standings, while Juan Ayuso was the best young rider.
😱 Un final totalmente de LOCURA. ¡Emoción hasta el último metro de La Vuelta! 🔥Así ha sido el ÚLTIMO KM.
— La Vuelta (@lavuelta) September 17, 2023