“It is impossible to replace Jonas" - Sepp Kuss unsure he could compete for victory at Tour de France if Vingegaard doesn't make it

Whether or not Jonas Vingegaard will return to defend his Tour de France crown later this summer remains up in the air. If not, the most likely man to lead Team Visma | Lease a Bike is surely the Vuelta a Espana champion Sepp Kuss.

Speaking ahead of the 2024 Criterium du Dauphine, where in Vingegaard's absence, Kuss will share leadership duties with his compatriot Matteo Jorgenson however, the 29-year-old is doubtful he'll be able to fill in Vingegaard's shoes, should the two-time Tour de France winner not make it back in time for the Grand Depart of the Grand Tour in Florence.

“It is impossible to replace Jonas. We don't have anyone in our team who can do that, because he is incredible," says the American, who last year finished 14th at the Giro d'Italia, 12th at the Tour de France and won the Vuelta a Espana, in conversation with NOS. “I will have to see what possibilities there are and go for the highest possible.”

In fact, if Kuss does eventually hold the reigns of Team Visma | Lease a Bike at the upcoming Tour de France, the American doesn't rule out attempting a completely different tactic than you would expect from Visma had Vingegaard been present. Rather than a complete focus on the Maillot Jaune and the podium, Kuss intends to be more flexible in setting his targets for the race.

“I can start with the goal of a podium, but there are many other strong riders. This is probably the best field of participants in the Tour de France in years," Kuss explains of what he plans to achieve in his 13th career Grand Tour. "There are also other goals: winning stages, going for a jersey. Things like that are also motivating. But starting with a big, realistic ambition is good.”

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