Having recently returned home in the USA, Sepp Kuss has talked to reporters and opened up a bit about his 2024 ambitions. He talks about the Tour de France, returning to the Vuelta a Espana as a defending champion and soon-to-be former teammate Primoz Roglic's leave.
“What I am most looking forward to is going to the Vuelta as defending champion. And going to the Tour and doing my best there, whether that is for myself or for Jonas [Vingegaard]," Kuss told Escape Collective. “If the course is not ideal for me, I would be happy to return to the Tour as a domestique. But we'll see what the route is maybe it's something I can handle. Do I mean that as a leader? Yes, why not?"
Although he's said in the past that he did not like the pressure of being a leader, and does not have as complete of a skillset as the likes of Vingegaard and Roglic, he had the legs to win the Spanish Grand Tour, taking advantage of the team's depth and ability to race aggressive tactics. That could be a role he would have in the future once again.
“I now know that I am capable of winning a Grand Tour. That gives me a lot of confidence. I know I can get my body and mind to a level where I can handle the pressure for three weeks," he says. The experience is now on his side after many years of supporting proven winners. Now he is one himself, but his role within the team in the big races will likely remain a bit of a wildcard.
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However, Jumbo-Visma may want to have him as a leader more often with the departure of Primoz Roglic, who he was a reliable domestique for several years. “He can now go to a team where he feels valued and where everyone supports him," Kuss says of the Slovenian.
"Not so much because he taught me things directly, but because of how he developed as a rider and what he learned himself. If your leader makes a mistake and you see him correct that mistake in the next race, you also learn from that," he concluded.