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The water service has simply received the hardest bike race on the planet


Sep 19, 2023
The water carrier has just won the toughest bike race on the planet
Cyclist Sepp Koss, centre, on the podium of stage 21 of the Vuelta a España with Jonas Wengegaard, left, and Primoz Roglic, right.
Zoom in / Bicycle owner Sepp Koss, centre, on the rostrum of stage 21 of the Vuelta a España with Jonas Wengegaard, left, and Primoz Roglic, proper.

Ricardo Rubio/Europe Press by way of Getty Pictures

One thing superb occurred final weekend.

If you happen to’re American, you most likely have not heard about this. It’s possible you’ll not know who did it or what they did. Till you click on on this text, you most likely do not care. However you need to.

Sepp Kuss received the Return to Spain award.

from? I did what now?

Kos is a 29-year-old skilled bike owner from Durango, Colorado. On Sunday he received one of many three main “Grand Excursions” in highway biking. The others are essentially the most well-known for the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. All are grueling three-week races throughout the flatlands and mountainous terrain of the international locations that bear their title. The Spanish Tour is the final of the three Excursions, and this 12 months was essentially the most troublesome and difficult route.

What’s outstanding about Kuss’ win is that he has devoted his profession to serving to different cyclists win these Grand Excursions. His Vuelta win is a bit like Kansas Metropolis Chiefs heart Creed Humphrey profitable the NFL Most Priceless Participant award as a substitute of quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Kuss is well-liked within the skilled peloton and biking. He has a myriad of nicknames, from “The Durango Child” to “The Mailman” (as a result of he all the time delivers as an assistant) to my favourite, “GC Kuss.” The latter was as soon as a ridiculous title, as a result of though Kuss is definitely one of many world’s finest bike climbers, he has by no means come near profitable the ‘general classification’ in a significant professional bike race.

JC Kos inspects the special paint process on his bike before the final stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
Zoom in / JC Kos inspects the particular paint course of on his bike earlier than the ultimate stage of the Vuelta a Espana.

Jumbo Visma

Even this Vuelta.

There’s a well-known biking movie made 50 years in the past in regards to the Giro d’Italia referred to as Stars and water carriers. That version of the race featured the most important stars, together with Belgian rider Eddy Merckx, extensively thought of the best bike owner of all time. However the movie additionally focuses on water carriers, the riders who convey water to their workforce leaders, defend their positions within the peloton, experience into the wind, and way more.

Kos is the water bearer.

He is definitely extremely paid. He makes over $1 million a 12 months as a luxurious homemaker. Within the mountains, he offers the ultimate drive to his workforce’s stars, Jonas Vengegaard of Denmark and Primoz Roglic of Slovenia. It’s possible you’ll not have heard of those two guys earlier than, however they’re two of the highest three “normal classification” riders on the earth. (The opposite individual, who was not within the race, is Tadej Pogarar, who additionally improbably hails from Slovenia.) Vingegaard has received the final two Excursions de France. Earlier this 12 months, Kos additionally helped Roglic win the Giro d’Italia. They experience for the perfect biking workforce on the earth, based mostly within the Netherlands, and sponsored by a sequence of supermarkets referred to as Jumbo-Visma.

Should not you experience for the race chief?

Early on this 12 months’s Vuelta, Kos was despatched on a breakaway to tag different riders. Because the different bike groups within the race didn’t view him as an all-out menace to win the race, Kos was given a couple of minutes benefit. It was thought that he would lose this in the course of the time trial stage as he had not ridden time trial levels properly previously.

However then two issues turned the race on its head. Kos had an excellent time trial, solely shedding a couple of minute to a number of of his rivals. After which the principle competitor of the Jumbo-Visma workforce, a Belgian named Remco Evenepoel, had a nasty day within the mountains, shedding loads of time. All of the sudden, Kuss, Roglič and Vingegaard had been ranked first, second and third respectively within the standings.

GC Kuss is now not a joke. However can the water bearer flip right into a star? For a number of days over the previous week, it wasn’t clear in any respect. This requires sports activities stars Vengegard and Roglic to swallow their egos and alter their roles. Can they turn into water carriers? They try this?

Biking is an attractive and absurd sport. It’s stunning due to the beautiful panorama and the advanced ways adopted by particular person riders and groups of their quest for general victory. Profitable in the course of the every day stage of the race, and different competitions inside the competitors. It is unbelievable due to what cyclists do to their our bodies to compete. They starve themselves to get exceptionally skinny, then exit each day for 3 weeks and beat themselves up. The wattage they will stand up to on the bike, 300, 400, 500 or much more, for minutes at a time, boggles the thoughts.

Driving can be a giant problem. Kos had by no means earlier than needed to bear these duties, the load of expectations, or the burden of profitable for his workforce. He didn’t count on to be on this position. This was his third Grand Tour of the 12 months, having competed in these powerful and grueling races in Might, July and now in September. No rider may peak in all three races, and he was solely in a position to take action as a result of he performed a supporting position in all three races, taking some days simpler than others.

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