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Tour de France

Sepp Kuss: Jumbo-Visma is ‘where it needs to be’ after Tour de France TT opener

The 27-year-old isays the Dutch squad has a 'good team for pretty much everything' and is looking forward to getting stuck in.

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Sepp Kuss says Jumbo-Visma is exactly where it needs to be after coming through the opening stage of the Tour de France unscathed and with its two GC men nestled into the top-10 in the time trial.

After a chaotic start to the team’s 2022 Tour de France, Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard avoided any tumbles in this year’s opener on a tricky wet course around Copenhagen.

The pair lost nine and eight seconds respectively to defending champion Tadej Pogačar but are well within touching distance of the Slovenian.

Meanwhile, Wout van Aert came close to taking the stage victory but was pipped to the post by compatriot Yves Lampaert.

“It’s a good start, everybody stayed upright for the most part. I think we’re right where we want to be,” Kuss said at the finish line. “It was really important [to start like this]. In a way, it was nice to start with the time trial, it’s a bit more simple, but it was wet and tricky and tomorrow is also going to be chaotic no matter what. We just have to be happy that we got through today like we did.”

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Kuss’ job was to get through the day in one piece, and he put in a solid performance to finish just over a minute down on Lampaert.

He was one of the last riders to go down the start ramp, and after watching several riders get it wrong on the slippery roads, he was happy just to kickstart his Tour de France without incident.

“It was a relief. When you watch the first guys go while you’re on the bus, with how slippery it was, it always looks a bit different on TV so you maybe over-estimate or under-estimate some sections but when you’re out there you get a feel for the course. It was nice to get it underway, it was super loud I could hardly hear my radio and that’s a good sign,” he said.

With just one stage down, there is plenty more to come for the riders at the Tour de France. The true GC days are still a little further down the line and Kuss will come into his own when the race reaches the big mountains at the end of the first week.

Kuss is looking forward to getting stuck into what is expected to be a hectic few days of racing in Denmark and into the opening French stages nonetheless.

“We have a good team for pretty much everything, maybe the more hectic the better. Personally, it’s not something for me, but it’s motivating even for a climber like me on these tricky stages when you have such a good team,” he said. “You want to be part of the action and be part of the team effort and contribute whatever way you can. Personally, I’m looking forward to the mountains.”

Stage 2 will be dominated by the wind as the trip across the “Great Belt” bridge, which comes inside the final 25 kilometers. Kuss is not expecting the wind to cause too much chaos across the bridge but believes the bunch will be tentative nonetheless.

“Last time I looked, the wind looked not too crazy, but either way it’s going to be really nervous,” he said.