Sepp Kuss left little doubt who is the strongest climber at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah during Saturday’s queen stage to Snowbird, dropping a select GC group on the lower slopes of the Little Cottonwood Canyon climb to the ski resort and soloing to his second stage win of the 2018 race.
The LottoNL-Jumbo neo pro also extended his advantage in the general classification to 1:21 over Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) and 2:05 over Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First-Drapac).
“For me, it’s nice and a bit of a relief to repay the team with some results,” Kuss said in the post-stage press conference. “In the spring I was really not riding well – at all. I was always doing my best, and I think the team saw that. At every race I was getting better, adjusting to a new team and life in Europe. So to come back here and repay that confidence that they’ve always had in me, even when I was not riding so well, is really nice.”
Kuss, who took the race lead with a successful solo attack on stage 3 over Mount Nebo, came into the stage with a 19-second lead over teammate Neilson Powless and 25 seconds on BMC Racing’s Tejay van Garderen. EF Education First-Drapac’s Dombrowski, Michael Woods and Hugh Carthy lurked just behind in fourth, sixth and eighth, and they went hard into the bottom of the final climb.
“EF set a pretty hard tempo at the bottom, but in the end it was maybe better for us, because that’s probably what I was going to have the guys do anyway,” Kuss said. “Then when the guys started attacking – which I expected – I was expecting them to maybe put in a bit longer attacks or more attacks.”
Kuss marked an attack by Woods, and Dombrowski quickly countered. Kuss marked that move as well and then found himself on the front of the GC group with just BMC Racing’s Kilian Frankiny, who was more than 10 minutes down on GC, up the road.
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