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Sepp Kuss waiting patiently for climbs at Critérium du Dauphiné

Sepp Kuss is safely negotiating the opening days at Critérium du Dauphiné ahead of the big climbing stages looming this weekend.

Sepp Kuss is back in action this week, and patiently waiting for the big climbs at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

The Colorado climber made it safely through Monday’s tricky stage 2, finishing in the pack of the GC contenders going into Tuesday’s sprint stage.

“It’s nice to ride with the big engines,” Kuss said. “It wasn’t easy terrain, but I felt good. In the last climbs, the pace was easy to follow.”

Kuss, 26, is racing for the first time since the Tour de Romandie, and for the last time ahead of a return to the Tour de France.

Also read: Jumbo-Visma view Sepp Kuss as a Tour de France ‘guarantee’

With team leader Primož Roglič preferring not to race ahead of the Tour, Kuss and Steven Kruijswijk are leading the team at the Dauphiné this week. Jumbo-Visma protected its GC options after another solo breakaway won the day’s honors.

“It was important to ride at the front, to keep a close eye on everything,” Kuss said Monday. “Especially in such a small group. In the end, I was in the right group with Steven and we stayed together. The team brought us forward well.”

Last year, Kuss confirmed his spot for a Tour de France debut with a breakout performance at the 2020 Dauphiné. He won the final stage and finished 10th overall.

Also read: Sepp Kuss bypassing Olympics to focus on Tour, Vuelta

Kuss later went on to provide superb support for Roglič at the Tour, and backed it up at the Vuelta a España. Kuss was among the best climbers in both races, finishing 15th and 16th, respectively, in the back-to-back grand tours.

Kuss — who is expected to return to the Tour de France this month and race the Vuelta a España in August — will have to cool his jets for a few more days.

Tuesday’s third stage should suit the sprinters, and Wednesday sees a decisive, 16.4km individual time trial.

The course turns to Kuss’ preferred hunting ground in stages 6 to 8.