Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.
BELLANTE, Italy (VN) — Sepp Kuss is four days into his first stage race of 2022, and he’s ready to stretch his legs on the climbs in the back half of Tirreno-Adriatico.
Following a solid Strade Bianche that saw him twice crash but still lead Jumbo-Visma, the Colorado climber is anticipating his first showdown of 2022 with the likes of Tadej Pogačar and Remco Evenepoel.
“We’ll have to try something if we want to go with the podium or beat those guys,” Kuss told VeloNews. “You have to attack to make up time. Jonas [Vingegaard] is in good shape, I feel good, too. If we can both be up there, that’s good.”
Kuss ceded 1:31 to time trial winner Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) and Vingegaard stopped the clock 53 seconds slower.
Going into Thursday’s stage, Vingegaard was 15th overall, with Kuss lingering at 94th.
Opening day time trial set the GC tone at Tirreno-Adriatico
One big difference in this year’s race is that the decisive time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico came on the first stage, rather than on the final day.
For Kuss and Vingegaard, the rest of the week is playing a game of catch up.
“The time trial changes the dynamic when it is on the first stage,” Kuss said. “Now it just depends on the differences on the time trial.
“When it’s on the first day you have to give everything, because you don’t want to be at the end of the race, and think, I should have gone better,” he said. “It’s the same in every race when you look back and think where you lost time.”
So far at Tirreno, the team’s been nursing along Dutch sprint sensation Olav Kooij, who was third to Caleb Ewan on Wednesday and second to Tim Merlier on Tuesday.
The sprinters will have another chance Sunday, but the next three days will see plenty of opportunities for Kuss and Vingegaard to move up.
“I want to be good already. You have to be good all season. It’s still a long season, each part of the season has its peaks,” Kuss said. “I feel good on the team. I didn’t have any problems in the winter, I trained well, and I am happy to finally be doing a stage race and doing some longer climbs.”
Up next for Kuss are two big dates at Itzulia Basque Country and the Tour de Romandie. After a rest and an altitude training block, Kuss will race the Tour de Suisse before a return to the Tour de France.
There are plenty of long climbs in the forecast.