• Sepp Kuss wins Stage 2 of the Tour of Utah (Lotto NL-Jumbo)Source: Lotto NL-Jumbo
Neo-pro Sepp Kuss pulled off a solo victory on Stage 2 at the Tour of Utah, attacking with 50 kilometres remaining and coming into the finish 19 seconds clear of the chasing group.
By
Cycling Central

9 Aug 2018 - 10:59 AM  UPDATED 9 Aug 2018 - 11:26 AM

The early breakaway was established after an aggressive start to the race with Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling), Edward Anderson (Hagens Berman Axeon), Sam Bassetti (Elevate-KHS), Cormac McGeough (Jelly Belly-Maxxis), Michael Hernandez (Aevolo) and Griffin Easter (303 Project) present.

The leaders started the climb with just two minutes and 50 seconds over the peloton, and after some attacks, Easter emerged as the strongest climber at the front of the race.

Kuss attacked out of the peloton and caught Easter with 52km to go, quickly dropping the 303 Project rider. EF Education First-Drapac's Mike Woods bolted out of the peloton next, sweeping up Easter and setting off for Kuss. Yellow jersey-wearer van Garderen remained in the dwindling peloton, led up the climb by Brent Bookwalter.

Kuss managed to keep driving up his lead despite a series of concerted attacks by EF Education First-Drapac. Eventually all the attackers except Kuss were brought back by the pace-setting of Bookwalter but it wasn't enough to catch the 23-year-old American, who soloed in to take the stage and the race lead.

"It feels really amazing to have my first win as a professional on a team as Team LottoNL-Jumbo”, Kuss said after his win. “I felt really good today. I knew it would be possible to do something on the climb. And if I were really good, I could go for the win.

"I tried to tell myself to stay relaxed. Once one of the top riders attacked, I followed easily. I just kept going. I hoped some more guys would join me, but it ended up as a solo ride. There was mostly headwind until the finish, but I managed to hold on. It feels really special.”

Neilson Powless attacked from the chasing group to take a memorable 1-2 on the stage for LottoNL-Jumbo, with Kyle Murphy (Rally Cycling) coming in third.