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

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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:

PositionRiderTeamCountryTimeGapBonusesPenalty
1KUSS SeppTEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBOUSA3:25:580:00:0010 
2* POWLESS NeilsonTEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBOUSA3:26:270:00:298 
3MURPHY KyleRALLY CYCLINGUSA3:26:270:00:294 
4* VILLALOBOS HERNANDEZ Luis RicardoAEVOLOMEX3:26:300:00:32  
5HERMANS BenISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMYBEL3:26:300:00:32  
6WOODS MichaelEF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALECAN3:26:300:00:32  
7BOOKWALTER BrentBMC RACING TEAMUSA3:26:300:00:32  
8HAIG JackMITCHELTON-SCOTTAUS3:26:300:00:32  
9MANNION GavinUNITEDHEALTHCAREUSA3:26:300:00:32  
10SWIRBUL KeeganJELLY BELLY pb MAXXISUSA3:26:300:00:32  
11VAN GARDEREN TejayBMC RACING TEAMUSA3:26:300:00:32  
12DOMBROWSKI Joseph LloydEF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALEUSA3:26:300:00:32  
13CARTHY Hugh JohnEF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALEGBR3:26:300:00:32  
14* BENNETT SeanHAGENS BERMAN AXEONUSA3:27:250:01:27  
15BRITTON RobertRALLY CYCLINGCAN3:27:470:01:49  
16STETINA PeterTREK-SEGAFREDOUSA3:27:470:01:49  
17ROSSKOPF JosephBMC RACING TEAMUSA3:27:470:01:49  
18BROWN NathanEF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALEUSA3:27:470:01:49  
19* HOEHN AlexAEVOLOUSA3:29:320:03:34  
20OVETT FreddyBMC RACING TEAMAUS3:29:320:03:34  
21* LYONS AngusMOBIUS BRIDGELANEAUS3:29:320:03:34  
22FRAYRE MOCTEZUMA EderELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLINGMEX3:29:320:03:34  
23EASTER Griffin303 PROJECTUSA3:29:320:03:34  
24EISENHART Taylor (T.J.)HOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOEUSA3:29:320:03:34  
25JARAMILLO DIEZ Daniel AlexanderUNITEDHEALTHCARECOL3:29:320:03:34  
26TVETCOV SergheiUNITEDHEALTHCAREROU3:29:320:03:34  
27* ANDERSON EdwardHAGENS BERMAN AXEONUSA3:29:320:03:34  
28* CONCI NicolaTREK-SEGAFREDOITA3:29:320:03:34  
29SANTAROMITA IvanNIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINIITA3:29:320:03:34  
30BURKE JackJELLY BELLY pb MAXXISCAN3:29:320:03:34  
31* ZUKOWSKY NickolasSILBER PRO CYCLINGCAN3:29:320:03:34  
32HUFFMAN EvanRALLY CYCLINGUSA3:29:320:03:34  
33* REVARD ThomasHAGENS BERMAN AXEONUSA3:35:560:09:58  
34* RIES MichelTREK-SEGAFREDOLUX3:35:560:09:58  
35NEWKIRK Isaiah303 PROJECTUSA3:36:110:10:13  
36ORONTE EmersonRALLY CYCLINGUSA3:36:110:10:13  
37EASTER Cullen303 PROJECTUSA3:36:110:10:13  
38* LIVINGSTONE PeterMOBIUS BRIDGELANEAUS3:36:110:10:13  
39FRANKINY KilianBMC RACING TEAMSUI3:36:110:10:13  
40* HECHT GageAEVOLOUSA3:38:020:12:04  
41MASBOURIAN NicolasSILBER PRO CYCLINGCAN3:38:020:12:04  
42SANCHEZ VERGARA Brayan StivenHOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOECOL3:38:020:12:04  
43PLAZA RubenISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMYESP3:38:020:12:04  
44DE LUNA DAVILA Flavio Alejandro303 PROJECTMEX3:38:020:12:04  
45FONT MAS Bernat303 PROJECTESP3:38:020:12:04  
46POWER RobertMITCHELTON-SCOTTAUS3:38:020:12:04  
47* EENKHOORN PascalTEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBONED3:39:010:13:03  
48AVILA VANEGAS Edwin AlcibiadesISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMYCOL3:39:010:13:03  
49HATSUYAMA ShoNIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINIJPN3:39:010:13:03  
50* PHILIPSEN JasperHAGENS BERMAN AXEONBEL3:39:010:13:03  
51DIDIER LaurentTREK-SEGAFREDOLUX3:39:010:13:03  
52* ISLAS LOPEZ FernandoAEVOLOMEX3:41:180:15:20  
53MAWDITT LionelJELLY BELLY pb MAXXISAUS3:42:250:16:27  
54* HAMILTON LucasMITCHELTON-SCOTTAUS3:42:250:16:27  
55CANTY BrendanEF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALEAUS3:42:250:16:27  
56* BROWN ConnorMOBIUS BRIDGELANENZL3:42:250:16:27  
57PONZI SimoneNIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINIITA3:42:250:16:27  
58* ROBERGE AdamSILBER PRO CYCLINGCAN3:42:250:16:27  
59CIMA DamianoNIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINIITA3:42:250:16:27  
60EG NiklasTREK-SEGAFREDODEN3:42:250:16:27  
61FINSTERWALD RussellMOBIUS BRIDGELANEUSA3:42:250:16:27  
62* ZIJLAARD MaikelHAGENS BERMAN AXEONNED3:46:000:20:02  
63RAST GregoryTREK-SEGAFREDOSUI3:46:000:20:02  
64* CIMA ImerioNIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINIITA3:46:000:20:02  
65CLARKE WilliamEF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALEAUS3:46:000:20:02  
66CASTILLO SOTO Ulises AlfredoJELLY BELLY pb MAXXISMEX3:46:000:20:021 
67SAGIV GuyISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMYISR3:46:000:20:02  
68BEWLEY SamMITCHELTON-SCOTTNZL3:46:000:20:02  
69* BROWN JonathanHAGENS BERMAN AXEONUSA3:46:000:20:02  
70* HAIDET LanceAEVOLOUSA3:46:000:20:02  
71* HERNANDEZ MichaelAEVOLOUSA3:46:000:20:021 
72ACEVEDO CALLE Janier AlexisUNITEDHEALTHCARECOL3:46:000:20:02  
73MCCABE TravisUNITEDHEALTHCAREUSA3:46:000:20:023 
74BACA Antonio303 PROJECTMEX3:46:000:20:02  
75* RICE MichaelHAGENS BERMAN AXEONAUS3:46:000:20:02  
76CLARKE JonathanUNITEDHEALTHCAREAUS3:46:000:20:02  
77SCHREURS HamishISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMYNZL3:46:000:20:02  
78HAEDO Lucas SebastianUNITEDHEALTHCAREARG3:46:000:20:02  
79WYNANTS MaartenTEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBOBEL3:46:000:20:02  
80* MAAS JanTEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBONED3:46:000:20:02  
81MARANGONI AlanNIPPO-VINI FANTINI-EUROPA OVINIITA3:46:000:20:02  
82MCCULLOCH BrianELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLINGUSA3:46:000:20:02  
83VANDALE DanickSILBER PRO CYCLINGCAN3:46:000:20:02  
84LEWIS JosephHOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOEAUS3:46:000:20:02  
85BOUWMAN KoenTEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBONED3:46:000:20:02  
86WILLIAMS TylerISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMYUSA3:46:000:20:02  
87HOWES AlexEF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALEUSA3:46:000:20:02  
88* EVANS AlexanderBMC RACING TEAMAUS3:46:000:20:02  
89* GERVAIS LaurentAEVOLOCAN3:46:000:20:02  
90CHEYNE JordanELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLINGCAN3:46:000:20:02  
91MAGNER TylerRALLY CYCLINGUSA3:46:000:20:02  
92* CHRETIEN Charles-EtienneSILBER PRO CYCLINGCAN3:46:000:20:02  
93OLIVIER DaanTEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBONED3:46:000:20:02  
94JEAN EmileSILBER PRO CYCLINGCAN3:46:000:20:02  
95REIJNEN KielTREK-SEGAFREDOUSA3:46:000:20:02  
96* COTE Pier-AndreSILBER PRO CYCLINGCAN3:46:000:20:02  
97PATE DannyRALLY CYCLINGUSA3:46:000:20:02  
98ELLSAY NigelRALLY CYCLINGCAN3:46:000:20:02  
99MEYER CameronMITCHELTON-SCOTTAUS3:46:000:20:02  
100SHELDEN TaylorJELLY BELLY pb MAXXISUSA3:46:000:20:02  
101KRASILNIKAU AndreiHOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOEBLR3:46:000:20:02  
102* CHAVES RUBIO BrayanMITCHELTON-SCOTTCOL3:46:000:20:02  
103BASSETTI SamuelELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLINGUSA3:46:000:20:02310
104SCHMITT MorganHOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOEUSA3:46:000:20:02  
105WOLFE BenjaminJELLY BELLY pb MAXXISUSA3:46:000:20:02  
106COMPANIONI RubenHOLOWESKO CITADEL pb ARAPAHOECUB3:46:000:20:02  
107LEMUS DAVILA Luis EnriqueISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMYMEX3:46:000:20:02  
108* MCGEOUGH CormacJELLY BELLY pb MAXXISIRL3:46:000:20:022 
109COYLE JesseMOBIUS BRIDGELANEAUS3:46:130:20:15  
110SIMPSON GeorgeELEVATE-KHS PRO CYCLINGUSA3:46:000:20:02  
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