University of Colorado Boulder alumnus Sepp Kuss became the first American to win a Tour de France stage in 10 years on Sunday when he won the 15th stage of professional cycling’s premier race. The 26-year-old from Durango, Colo. is racing for Team Jumbo–Visma, a professional cycling team based out of the Netherlands.
Kuss, who has made a name for himself in professional cycling as a climbing specialist, won consecutive cross-country Collegiate Mountain Biking Championships in 2014 and 2015 for CU’s mountain biking team. He then turned his attention to road biking and went professional in 2016.
As a Colorado native, Kuss’ experience riding through the Rocky Mountains proved valuable during one of the Tour’s most grueling mountain stages. The 15th stage snakes through the Pyrenees mountain range from Céret to Kuss’ current hometown of Andorre-La-Vieille.
Stage 15 is a 191.3 kilometer (118.9 miles) mountain climb with more than 4,500 meters (14,763 feet) of elevation gain, an extremely difficult endeavor even by Tour de France standards. He held off Spaniard Alejandro Valverde throughout the climb to cross the finish line first.
“It’s really unbelievable, I can’t describe it,” Kuss said in TeamJumbo-Visma.com. “Today the stage finished in my hometown and therefore I was very motivated to go for the stage win.”
Tour riders enjoyed a rest day on Monday before Stage 16 begins July 13. NBC Sports will televise the remaining stages through the Tour’s July 18 finish.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kieran Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org.