Sepp Kuss anticipates a heated battle for the yellow jersey at the Tour de France in 2023

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Sepp Kuss prepares for a heated battle at the 2023 Tour de France as Jumbo-Visma hopes to fend off Tadej Pogačar and a beefed-up UAE Team Emirates.

Speaking to the Spanish newspaper BRAND At the recent Asian criteria, the American climbing star said that Jumbo-Visma will need to be at the top of his game in 2023 if the Dutch team hopes to defend the yellow jersey.

Kuss expects the growing rivalry with Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates to intensify further in 2023.

“It’s going to be tough to stay on top,” Kuss said. BRAND. “UAE signed a lot of good cyclists, like [Adam] Yachts, but we’re still a tight-knit group. We have riders who can win in all kinds of races.”

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In the Alps last summer, Jumbo-Visma attacked and isolated Pogačar on stage over the Col du Galibier, and put Jonas Vingegaard in the yellow jersey in an impressive tactical ploy.

For 2023, Kuss admits that the UAE will be even stronger and that Jumbo-Visma will have to be even more creative if the team hopes to defend the yellow.

“We’re going to have to find other ways to attack and use our riders,” Kuss said. BRAND. “This year we had both Primož and Jonas very well placed to attack Tadej, but we don’t know what awaits us next year. The most important thing is to have a very complete team to face the different situations”.

Kuss hopes to return to the Tour in 2023 to continue his role as an elite assistant to the top Jumbo-Visma captains.

Kuss, 28, played a key role in helping teammate Vingegaard unseat Pogačar at the 2022 Tour, and he hopes to return next year for what would be his fourth Tour appearance.

“At the moment the plans are not finalized yet, but Jonas wants to defend his Tour de France title,” he said. “Others will go to the Giro d’Italia, which will have many time trials. We don’t know yet, but there is plenty of time to define everything.”

Kuss: “I would like to return to the Tour and then to the Vuelta”

Sepp Kuss was a key mountaineer for Jonas Vingegaard in the Tour de France. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Jumbo-Visma will hold a pre-season meeting this fall to outline first discussions on the team’s biggest goals for 2023.

With Vingegaard’s big Tour victory in July, the Netherlands-based outfit will put title defense at the center of the team’s grand tour plans.

Primož Roglič, who crashed out of both the Tour and Vuelta in 2022, could be putting a Giro race back on his calendar, especially with the Italian Grand Tour loaded with time trial kilometers.

For Kuss, who is under contract with Jumbo-Visma until 2024, it is about being of service to the team.

“I would like to go back to the Tour and then to the Vuelta, but one day I would like to be in the Giro,” Kuss said. “What happens is that normally in spring at this part of the season I don’t usually feel very well. It will be in a few days, at the team presentation, that we will further define the calendars”.

Since joining the WorldTour in 2018, he has become one of the deadliest climbing lieutenants in the peloton, able to help the team and pick up some personal results along the way.

Kuss played down reports that Vingegaard suffered all the pressure and attention that came with winning Denmark’s first yellow jersey in 25 years.

Vingegaard kept a low profile after his dramatic victory, but returned to racing in September with two stage wins and second overall at the CRO Tour, and 16th at Il Lombardia.

“It seemed calm to me. As a person, I needed a break after big goals like the Tour,” she said. “He spends a lot of energy preparing for these races. He has to run a lot outside the house. It’s hard for everyone, but he is so focused that he needs some time with his family to recover after the races”.

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