ANDORRA LA VELLA, Andorra — Sepp Kuss could not suppress a large grin as he raced towards the end line to develop into the primary American in 10 years to win a stage on the Tour de France.
After profitable Sunday’s grueling fifteenth stage, Kuss threw his sun shades into the gang and put his arms within the air earlier than overlaying his face, succumbing to emotion and exhaustion.
Tyler Farrar had been the final American to win a stage at biking’s largest race in 2011.
“It is unbelievable, I am misplaced for phrases,” Kuss mentioned.
The 26-year-old Colorado native left it late to make his transfer within the punishing 191-kilometer (118-mile) trip from Ceret on the foothills of the Pyrenees to the tiny mountain-bound nation of Andorra.
“This was Sepp’s day,” mentioned Jumbo-Visma teammate Wout van Aert, who helped put Kuss able to interrupt. “He lives in Andorra and he was wanting ahead to this stage.”
The American attacked going up the 1,796-meter Col de Beixalis and maintained his hard-fought benefit over Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde, who completed 23 seconds behind.
“To be sincere, I used to be struggling so much on this Tour de France. I did not really feel like I had the spice within the legs. Right this moment I knew it was ending the place I stay, so I used to be motivated for the stage,” Kuss mentioned.
Col de Beixalis was the steepest climb in a day of many ascents within the Pyrenees. Kuss’ common pace going up was 20.4 kph (12.7 mph), and 57.9 kph (36 mph) happening, the place he clocked a most pace of 80.6 kph (50 mph).
“I do not trip to Col de Beixalis a lot in coaching as a result of it is so exhausting, however I knew if I had an excellent hole, I would keep away until the end. Wout van Aert did a terrific job for me within the valley. It means so much to me to win a Tour de France stage,” Kuss mentioned.
Dutch rider Wout Poels completed third and took over the polka dot jersey for one of the best climber.
“It is clearly going to be a terrific battle for the mountains jersey,” Poels mentioned.
Race chief Tadej Pogacar loved an uneventful day and remained on target for his second general victory.
The defending champion was solely questioned towards the tip of the stage as Jonas Vingegaard adopted Ben O’Connor’s instance with two assaults.
Pogacar answered each with none issues and elevated his general result in greater than 5 minutes over Rigoberto Uran and Vingegaard.
“I felt good, and I wasn’t anxious in any respect in regards to the final climb. I simply wanted to comply with the opposite riders there, as I did,” Pogacar mentioned. “My crew did a terrific job at defending me all day lengthy, offering me with all the things I wanted. The important thing at the moment was to maintain myself hydrated, to have water obtainable on a regular basis, and my teammates did that job completely.”
Guillaume Martin, who was second general forward of the stage, dropped again to ninth.
Earlier than the ultimate tussles on Col de Beixalis, riders needed to overcome the two,408-meter Port d’Envalira, the place Nairo Quintana made a break after a robust headwind pressured riders throughout the highway. Quintana was first to the summit earlier than he was hauled again. Quintana tried once more on Col de Beixalis earlier than Kuss took over.
Nacer Bouhanni, who had been struggling since an enormous crash on Stage 13, give up after the intermediate dash with 124.5 kilometers remaining.
The remainder of the riders have an opportunity to get well on the tour’s second relaxation day Monday earlier than extra climbs await on Tuesday.