– What happened? –
The opening weekend of the Vuelta a España saw Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) win his first-ever individual stage of the Spanish Grand Tour. Twenty-four hours later, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) took his tenth. Overall, Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) moved into the lead after the opening two stages, but there are still three weeks of hard racing to come.
Dennis, Australia’s reigning time trial Champion, claimed an impressive win in the opening 8km time trial in Málaga ahead of Kwiatkowski. His latest victory enabled the Australian, first across the line when BMC won the stage one team time trial last year, to return to the overall lead for a second year running in the Vuelta a España.
However, Dennis suffered badly in the heat on stage two, losing time and ceding the lead he had held for just one day to Kwiatkowski, who finished second behind Valverde at the uphill finish in Caminito del Rey. Overall, Kwiatkowski now leads by 14 seconds over the Spaniard, with Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) in third place, at 25 seconds.
Belgian Oliver Naesen (Ag2R La Mondiale) has become the first foreign rider to win the Bretagne Classic-Ouest France twice, repeating his 2016 victory after outpowering Michael Valgren (Astana Pro Team) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) in heavy rain on Sunday. The trio broke away 19 kilometres from the line, then Naesen attacked with 400 metres left to race to win the Breton Classic.
– What’s on? –
Saturday August 25th - Sunday September 16th: Vuelta Ciclista a España
– Photo of the week –
– Focus on Sepp Kuss –
Sepp Kuss (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo) is a 23-year-old climber from Colorado who has been clocking up some excellent race results. The winner this August of all three mountain stages in the Tour of Utah, as well as the overall, Kuss is widely rated as one of America’s top up-and-coming climbers.
Kuss is a former mountain biker who was three times the US Collegiate Mountain Bike Champion before switching to the road in 2016. That year, as an unknown Amateur, he took a promising victory in the notoriously tough Redlands Classic in the USA ahead of several UCI WorldTour pros. Kuss was then snapped up by an American UCI Continental Team, Rally, and won a stage of the Tour de Beauce as well as making the podium of the Tour of Alberta, before heading for Team Lotto NL-Jumbo in 2018. Fresh from his Utah success, Kuss is taking part in his first ever Grand Tour, the Vuelta Ciclista a España.
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