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Tirreno-Adriatico: Sepp Kuss suffers mechanical as Jonas Vingegaard vows to attack at Tirreno-Adriatico

Jumbo-Visma climbing combo hopes to light up Saturday's stage to move up at Tirreno-Adriatico.

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FERMO, Italy (VN) — Last year, Jonas Vingegaard was the only rider who came close to matching Tadej Pogačar in the 2021 Tour de France.

Saturday’s mountain duel up Marco Pantani’s training ground could be the first mano-a-mano duel between the pair since the action on last year’s Mont Ventoux.

While the media is playing up their budding rivalry, Vingegaard was all business.

Here’s how he answered journalists’ inquiries at the line Friday:

“Tirreno is a goal for me and so I’m happy how it going,” he said. “I’m not satisfied with my time trial but that’s how it is. I’m happy with my shape.”

What do you expect tomorrow?

“A really hard day.”

Changes? Is it possible to attack Pogačar?

“I don’t know, we’ll see tomorrow.”

Vingegaard’s chances for victory at Tirreno-Adriatico were handicapped right from the start. He ran flat in Monday’s opening time trial, finishing an uncharacteristic 27th at 53 seconds slower than winner Filippo Ganna.

Since then, Vingegaard is steadily picking his way up the GC, and followed the moves Thursday to punch into the top-10. On Friday, he followed a fierce acceleration from Remco Evenepoel and Pogačar, but all three steered off-course.

“It was a good attack by Remco but I had the legs to follow, so why not go?” he said. “We went the wrong way, unfortunately. None of us saw the corner coming. It was kind of downhill and then all of a sudden we had to go right.”

Vingegaard’s come in hot into 2022, winning the Drôme Classic for his career-first one-day classic to confirm that 2021 was no fluke.

Unfortunately for Vingegaard and everyone else this week, Pogačar is coming in even hotter.

Sepp Kuss suffers late mechanical before final climb

Sepp Kuss in early action Friday. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Sepp Kuss was wondering what happened in Friday’s finale because he was nowhere near the front to see it.

Why? He suffered problems with his derailleur late in the race, and he missed out on how his Jumbo-Visma teammate attacked off the front.

“I don’t know how it went but he was good,” Kuss said at the line.

“I had bike problems and wasn’t really in the race. There was something wrong with my shifting, so I had to continue with it,” Kuss said. “When you’re stuck in the big ring on those climbs, you can’t really do anything.”

Kuss is also coming into Tirreno looking for a result. He led Jumbo-Visma at Strade Bianche despite crashing twice.

Also read: Kuss — ‘Well have to try to something’

This week, he’s not set to be at his sharpest since his top goals come later in the season, but Saturday’s climbing finale should see him back at the front of the bunch when the road tilts up.

“We want to go for the best. But Carpegna is a hard climb. It’s going to be a super hard stage,” Kuss said. “We also go up the steep climb twice, there’s also descending. There’s a lot of possibilities.”

When asked about the growing rivalry with UAE Emirates, Kuss said Saturday’s stage is a chance to settle some scores.

“I think they’ve got the one-up on us, but we can only try our best to equal them.”