Kuss Soars Up Mount Nebo for Race Lead at 2018 Tour of Utah; Report, Photos, Results

Team LottoNL-Jumbo Teammates Take Top Two Positions on Stage 2 in Payson and on G.C

By Lyne Lamoureux – The legend of Mount Nebo just got a bit bigger at the 2018 Tour of Utah today. Another rider was able to make a mark with a daring attack on its slopes while others saw their dreams of overall victory disappear.

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TV cameras focus on Sepp Kuss (Team Lotto NL_Jumbo) while neutral support Mavic is ready to help out should Sepp have a flat tire. Stage 2, 2018 LHM Tour of Utah cycling race (Photo by Dave Richards, daverphoto.com)
TV cameras focus on Sepp Kuss (Team Lotto NL_Jumbo) while neutral support Mavic is ready to help out should Sepp have a flat tire. Stage 2, 2018 LHM Tour of Utah cycling race (Photo by Dave Richards, daverphoto.com)

A powerful solo attack by Sepp Kuss Team LottoNL-Jumbo lasted 32 miles from the slopes of Mount Nebo for a thrilling win on Stage 2 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Wednesday. The victory in downtown Payson City put the 23-year-old in the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies overall leader’s jersey.

Kuss covered the 88.6-mile course in 3 hours and 25 minutes. Crossing the line 29 seconds later was his teammate Neilson Powless, who won the sprint for second place ahead of Rally Cycling’s Kyle Murphy.

Kuss attacked and passed the dwindling peloton on the steep, lower slopes of Mount Nebo, the highest mountain in the Wasatch Range of Utah. He was alone at the top, 9,300 feet above sea level at the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climb and held off a hard-charging chase group on the exhilarating 23-mile descent to the finish.

At the beginning of the climb, I felt really strong so I thought I'll wait until some of the G.C. guys start attacking and then key off of that. Maybe even try something on my own if I feel good,” said Kuss who countered an attack by Pete Stetina [Trek Segafredo] at the bottom of the climb. “I followed that, and still felt pretty good and the gap kept going. The climb was a little bit pitchy so I used the rollers and stuff to keep my momentum. There was definitely a headwind so after I passed Pete, I thought this might not be the smartest decision. I still felt really good, still under my limit so I just kept going at a reasonable speed and thought if they catch me, they catch me and I'll still have something in reserve.”

Kuss had a one-minute lead on the chasing group of elite riders as he crested Mount Nebo. “At the top of the KOM, I felt pretty good. Something I have this weird thing where the higher altitude I get I feel weirdly better. You can just breathe harder but your lungs don't work as much type of thing, that sounds really sick,” he said with a laugh.

Honestly I wasn't super confident, I’'m not the best time trialist or flat land rider and I'm not super aerodynamic and it's still pretty windy so I thought they might make some time up. Halfway down the descent, when the gap was more or less the same, it gave me a lot of confidence but the wheels were definitely starting to come off in the last five k [kilometers].”

Powless celebrated his teammate’s victory as he crossed the line. “Sepp going up the road, that was a baller move, it was just insane,” he said. “I was incredibly happy, at a loss for words. Have a little time to celebrate, you don't get to celebrate when you finish second very often but when your teammate finishes first and you come in across the line next, that's about as special as it gets.”

Making its seventh appearance at the Tour of Utah, the legendary Mount Nebo stage brought major changes to the 2018 overall leaderboard. The victory gives Kuss a 21-second General Classification (G.C.) lead over Powless. Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing Team dropped from first to third, 25 seconds down. Murphy surged from 27th to fourth overall on G.C. Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First-Drapac) jumped up five spots to fifth overall, 38 seconds behind Kuss.

After a fast and furious start on Stage 2, Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare) claimed the first intermediate sprint in front of historic Peteetneet Museum in Payson ahead of Powless and Ulises Castillo (Jelly Belly). The three-second time bonus made McCabe the virtual leader on the road. But the sprinter dropped out of the field as the road went up and up. McCabe did retain the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey, and will focus on upcoming stages.

Once again, the break of the day was initiated by Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling) who was joined by Sam Bassetti of Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling, Edward Anderson of Hagens Berman Axeon, Griffin Easter of 303 Project, Cormac Mcgeough of Jelly Belly Cycling Team p/b Maxxis and Michael Hernandez of Aevolo Cycling. The six riders worked well together and built up a lead of over four minutes to the BMC Racing Team-led peloton.

Hernandez made the first attack to break up the cooperation on the lower slopes of Mount Nebo. Easter countered the move and tried to continue solo. Behind him, attacks from the dwindling field putting pressure on van Garderen and his team.

With 32 miles to go, Kuss made his fateful move. He then put his head down and closed the 45-second gap to Easter. Dombrowski gave chase, first with teammate Michael Woods, then with Hugh Carthy. The surges dropped even more riders from the field, isolating van Garderen in his defense of the yellow jersey.

Another attack from Murphy led to a re-shuffle in the chase group. “I attacked over the top of Mt. Nebo and got in a little move with Hugh Carthy and Luis Villalobos (Aevolo). I was hoping the yellow jersey had cracked and that EF Drapac was blocking behind. It wound up being a headwind and I didnt want to do too much work on the descent since its such a long stage race. We ended up getting caught but I felt pretty confident in a bunch kick,” he explained.

Kuss showed his skill on the twisty descent, maintaining a gap of around one minute to chasers as they sped towards Payson. He had time to enjoy his victory before the small field crossed the finish line.

Sepp Kuss (Team Lotto NL_Jumbo) celebrates his solo win of Stage 2, 2018 LHM Tour of Utah cycling race (Photo by Dave Richards, daverphoto.com)

Powless who had yo-yo’ed off the back of the field on the climb found his sprinting legs for second place. “I was struggling with the group a bit, but just trying to stay within myself the whole time. Just try not to surge at all, stay with the bunch and just pray that the group doesn't go too far away and I could come back. Luckily I was still strong over the top and I was able to come back to Gavin Mannion and Brent Bookwalter. I knew that if I came back, it could be a good finish for me especially with the riders that were left.”

I’m pretty surprised with third today. I felt pretty terrible yesterday but the legs came around today,” Murphy said. “I’m happy with the result and happy to do something for the team. Weve all been supporting each other and Im just glad all of the hard work is paying off.

Easter, the last rider from the six-man breakaway to be reeled in after 40 miles in the saddle, was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Gage Hecht (Aevolo) was voted America First Credit Union Fan Favorite, in the category of Most Promising Rookie. The Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain jersey stayed with Daan Olivier (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Powless is back in the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey.

Stage 3 presented by America First Credit Union on Thursday, Aug. 9 is the longest stage of the week at 116.4 miles (188 km). A new start on the far end of Antelope Island State Park takes place at the Garr Ranch. It is the third time the Tour has started on the island. After a wind-swept seven miles over the causeway to cross the Great Salt Lake's Farmington Bay to the mainland, the race will serpentine through Davis County to the new finish in Layton City. There are three Sprint lines in Davis County, once in Syracuse and twice in Farmington. One short, steep KOM up the Bountiful Bench could be the launching pad for a late breakaway. On the return stretch from Bountiful, the race will pass through Hill Air Force Base for a second year. After five circuits through Layton Commons Park, a stage winner will be crowned on North Wasatch Drive across from the park.

Results and Jerseys after stage 2

Stage 2

  1. KUSS Sepp (USA), TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 3.25'58”
  2. POWLESS Neilson (USA), TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 3.26'27” +29″
  3. MURPHY Kyle (USA), RALLY CYCLING – 3.26'27” +29”
  4. VILLALOBOS HERNANDEZ Luis Ricardo (MEX), AEVOLO – 3.26'30” +32”
  5. HERMANS Ben (BEL), ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY – 3.26'30” +32″
  6. WOODS Michael (CAN), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 3.26'30” +32″
  7. BOOKWALTER Brent (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 3.26'30” +32″
  8. HAIG Jack (AUS), MITCHELTON-SCOTT – 3.26'30” +32″
  9. MANNION Gavin (USA), UNITEDHEALTHCARE – 3.26'30” +32″
  10. SWIRBUL Keegan (USA), JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS – 3.26'30” +32″

 

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION (After Stage 2) – Top 10

  1. KUSS Sepp (USA) TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 7.49'37”
  2. POWLESS Neilson (USA), TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 7.49'58” +21″
  3. VAN GARDEREN Tejay (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 7.50'02” +25″
  4. MURPHY Kyle (USA), RALLY CYCLING – 7.50'14” +37″
  5. DOMBROWSKI Joseph Lloyd (USA), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 7.50'15” +38″
  6. MANNION Gavin (USA), UNITEDHEALTHCARE – 7.50'15” +38″
  7. CARTHY Hugh John (GBR), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 7.50'15” +38″
  8. WOODS Michael (CAN), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 7.50'16” +39″
  9. HAIG Jack (AUS), MITCHELTON-SCOTT – 7.50'17” +40″
  10. BOOKWALTER Brent (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 7.50'17” +40″

 

AWARD JERSEYS

  • Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall leader – Sepp Kuss (USA), Team LottoNL-Jumbo
  • Utah Sports Commission Sprint leader – Travis McCabe (USA), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
  • Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain – Daan Olivier (NED), Team LottoNL-Jumbo
  • WCF Insurance Best Young Rider – Neilson Powless (USA), Team LottoNL-Jumbo
  • Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider – Griffin Easter (USA), 303 Project
  • America First Credit Union Fan Favorite – Gage Hecht (USA), Aevolo Pro Cycling

Full Results from Stage 2:

Position Rider Team Country Time Gap Bonuses Penalty
1 KUSS Sepp TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO USA 3:25:58 0:00:00 10  
2 * POWLESS Neilson TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO USA 3:26:27 0:00:29 8  
3 MURPHY Kyle RALLY CYCLING USA 3:26:27 0:00:29 4  
4 * VILLALOBOS HERNANDEZ Luis Ricardo AEVOLO MEX 3:26:30 0:00:32    
5 HERMANS Ben ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY BEL 3:26:30 0:00:32    
6 WOODS Michael EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE CAN 3:26:30 0:00:32    
7 BOOKWALTER Brent BMC RACING TEAM USA 3:26:30 0:00:32    
8 HAIG Jack MITCHELTON-SCOTT AUS 3:26:30 0:00:32    
9 MANNION Gavin UNITEDHEALTHCARE USA 3:26:30 0:00:32    
10 SWIRBUL Keegan JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS USA 3:26:30 0:00:32    
11 VAN GARDEREN Tejay BMC RACING TEAM USA 3:26:30 0:00:32    
12 DOMBROWSKI Joseph Lloyd EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE USA 3:26:30 0:00:32    
13 CARTHY Hugh John EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE GBR 3:26:30 0:00:32    
14 * BENNETT Sean HAGENS BERMAN AXEON USA 3:27:25 0:01:27    
15 BRITTON Robert RALLY CYCLING CAN 3:27:47 0:01:49    
16 STETINA Peter TREK-SEGAFREDO USA 3:27:47 0:01:49    
17 ROSSKOPF Joseph BMC RACING TEAM USA 3:27:47 0:01:49    
18 BROWN Nathan EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE USA 3:27:47 0:01:49    
19 * HOEHN Alex AEVOLO USA 3:29:32 0:03:34    
20 OVETT Freddy BMC RACING TEAM AUS 3:29:32 0:03:34    
21 * LYONS Angus MOBIUS BRIDGELANE AUS 3:29:32 0:03:34    
22 FRAYRE MOCTEZUMA Eder ELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLING MEX 3:29:32 0:03:34    
23 EASTER Griffin 303 PROJECT USA 3:29:32 0:03:34    
24 EISENHART Taylor (T.J.) HOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOE USA 3:29:32 0:03:34    
25 JARAMILLO DIEZ Daniel Alexander UNITEDHEALTHCARE COL 3:29:32 0:03:34    
26 TVETCOV Serghei UNITEDHEALTHCARE ROU 3:29:32 0:03:34    
27 * ANDERSON Edward HAGENS BERMAN AXEON USA 3:29:32 0:03:34    
28 * CONCI Nicola TREK-SEGAFREDO ITA 3:29:32 0:03:34    
29 SANTAROMITA Ivan NIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINI ITA 3:29:32 0:03:34    
30 BURKE Jack JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS CAN 3:29:32 0:03:34    
31 * ZUKOWSKY Nickolas SILBER PRO CYCLING CAN 3:29:32 0:03:34    
32 HUFFMAN Evan RALLY CYCLING USA 3:29:32 0:03:34    
33 * REVARD Thomas HAGENS BERMAN AXEON USA 3:35:56 0:09:58    
34 * RIES Michel TREK-SEGAFREDO LUX 3:35:56 0:09:58    
35 NEWKIRK Isaiah 303 PROJECT USA 3:36:11 0:10:13    
36 ORONTE Emerson RALLY CYCLING USA 3:36:11 0:10:13    
37 EASTER Cullen 303 PROJECT USA 3:36:11 0:10:13    
38 * LIVINGSTONE Peter MOBIUS BRIDGELANE AUS 3:36:11 0:10:13    
39 FRANKINY Kilian BMC RACING TEAM SUI 3:36:11 0:10:13    
40 * HECHT Gage AEVOLO USA 3:38:02 0:12:04    
41 MASBOURIAN Nicolas SILBER PRO CYCLING CAN 3:38:02 0:12:04    
42 SANCHEZ VERGARA Brayan Stiven HOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOE COL 3:38:02 0:12:04    
43 PLAZA Ruben ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY ESP 3:38:02 0:12:04    
44 DE LUNA DAVILA Flavio Alejandro 303 PROJECT MEX 3:38:02 0:12:04    
45 FONT MAS Bernat 303 PROJECT ESP 3:38:02 0:12:04    
46 POWER Robert MITCHELTON-SCOTT AUS 3:38:02 0:12:04    
47 * EENKHOORN Pascal TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO NED 3:39:01 0:13:03    
48 AVILA VANEGAS Edwin Alcibiades ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY COL 3:39:01 0:13:03    
49 HATSUYAMA Sho NIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINI JPN 3:39:01 0:13:03    
50 * PHILIPSEN Jasper HAGENS BERMAN AXEON BEL 3:39:01 0:13:03    
51 DIDIER Laurent TREK-SEGAFREDO LUX 3:39:01 0:13:03    
52 * ISLAS LOPEZ Fernando AEVOLO MEX 3:41:18 0:15:20    
53 MAWDITT Lionel JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS AUS 3:42:25 0:16:27    
54 * HAMILTON Lucas MITCHELTON-SCOTT AUS 3:42:25 0:16:27    
55 CANTY Brendan EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE AUS 3:42:25 0:16:27    
56 * BROWN Connor MOBIUS BRIDGELANE NZL 3:42:25 0:16:27    
57 PONZI Simone NIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINI ITA 3:42:25 0:16:27    
58 * ROBERGE Adam SILBER PRO CYCLING CAN 3:42:25 0:16:27    
59 CIMA Damiano NIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINI ITA 3:42:25 0:16:27    
60 EG Niklas TREK-SEGAFREDO DEN 3:42:25 0:16:27    
61 FINSTERWALD Russell MOBIUS BRIDGELANE USA 3:42:25 0:16:27    
62 * ZIJLAARD Maikel HAGENS BERMAN AXEON NED 3:46:00 0:20:02    
63 RAST Gregory TREK-SEGAFREDO SUI 3:46:00 0:20:02    
64 * CIMA Imerio NIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINI ITA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
65 CLARKE William EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE AUS 3:46:00 0:20:02    
66 CASTILLO SOTO Ulises Alfredo JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS MEX 3:46:00 0:20:02 1  
67 SAGIV Guy ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY ISR 3:46:00 0:20:02    
68 BEWLEY Sam MITCHELTON-SCOTT NZL 3:46:00 0:20:02    
69 * BROWN Jonathan HAGENS BERMAN AXEON USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
70 * HAIDET Lance AEVOLO USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
71 * HERNANDEZ Michael AEVOLO USA 3:46:00 0:20:02 1  
72 ACEVEDO CALLE Janier Alexis UNITEDHEALTHCARE COL 3:46:00 0:20:02    
73 MCCABE Travis UNITEDHEALTHCARE USA 3:46:00 0:20:02 3  
74 BACA Antonio 303 PROJECT MEX 3:46:00 0:20:02    
75 * RICE Michael HAGENS BERMAN AXEON AUS 3:46:00 0:20:02    
76 CLARKE Jonathan UNITEDHEALTHCARE AUS 3:46:00 0:20:02    
77 SCHREURS Hamish ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY NZL 3:46:00 0:20:02    
78 HAEDO Lucas Sebastian UNITEDHEALTHCARE ARG 3:46:00 0:20:02    
79 WYNANTS Maarten TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO BEL 3:46:00 0:20:02    
80 * MAAS Jan TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO NED 3:46:00 0:20:02    
81 MARANGONI Alan NIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINI ITA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
82 MCCULLOCH Brian ELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLING USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
83 VANDALE Danick SILBER PRO CYCLING CAN 3:46:00 0:20:02    
84 LEWIS Joseph HOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOE AUS 3:46:00 0:20:02    
85 BOUWMAN Koen TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO NED 3:46:00 0:20:02    
86 WILLIAMS Tyler ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
87 HOWES Alex EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
88 * EVANS Alexander BMC RACING TEAM AUS 3:46:00 0:20:02    
89 * GERVAIS Laurent AEVOLO CAN 3:46:00 0:20:02    
90 CHEYNE Jordan ELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLING CAN 3:46:00 0:20:02    
91 MAGNER Tyler RALLY CYCLING USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
92 * CHRETIEN Charles-Etienne SILBER PRO CYCLING CAN 3:46:00 0:20:02    
93 OLIVIER Daan TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO NED 3:46:00 0:20:02    
94 JEAN Emile SILBER PRO CYCLING CAN 3:46:00 0:20:02    
95 REIJNEN Kiel TREK-SEGAFREDO USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
96 * COTE Pier-Andre SILBER PRO CYCLING CAN 3:46:00 0:20:02    
97 PATE Danny RALLY CYCLING USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
98 ELLSAY Nigel RALLY CYCLING CAN 3:46:00 0:20:02    
99 MEYER Cameron MITCHELTON-SCOTT AUS 3:46:00 0:20:02    
100 SHELDEN Taylor JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
101 KRASILNIKAU Andrei HOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOE BLR 3:46:00 0:20:02    
102 * CHAVES RUBIO Brayan MITCHELTON-SCOTT COL 3:46:00 0:20:02    
103 BASSETTI Samuel ELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLING USA 3:46:00 0:20:02 3 10
104 SCHMITT Morgan HOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOE USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
105 WOLFE Benjamin JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
106 COMPANIONI Ruben HOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOE CUB 3:46:00 0:20:02    
107 LEMUS DAVILA Luis Enrique ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY MEX 3:46:00 0:20:02    
108 * MCGEOUGH Cormac JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS IRL 3:46:00 0:20:02 2  
109 COYLE Jesse MOBIUS BRIDGELANE AUS 3:46:13 0:20:15    
110 SIMPSON George ELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLING USA 3:46:00 0:20:02    
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