Sepp Kuss cooperated in Spain as Tour de France is postponed

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A stage 16 through the mountains of France on Bastille Day awaited Sepp Kuss from Durango in 2020. His shot of glory during his first Tour de France will however have to wait.

It was announced Tuesday that the 107th Tour de France, which was to start on June 27 on the Côte d’Azur and end on July 19 in Paris, would be postponed to a later date – probably at the end of August with the end of September – due of the new coronavirus pandemic. Monday evening’s decision by French President Emmanuel Macron to extend the ban on all major public gatherings until at least mid-July forced the world’s most iconic cycling event to be postponed.

Kuss, who was named to the Team Jumbo-Visma list for the Tour de France 2020 for the first time in his young WorldTour career, received the news from Spain, where the national lock had just started the lifting process the same day.

“With the situation in Europe, it’s really not surprising,” said the 25-year-old Durango player. “Everything here is completely closed and you can see the seriousness of the situation, and you also feel that now is not the time for sport. I hope we can have the tour at a later date in summer or fall, but at this point we really don’t know. “

The Tour de France draws more attention to cycling than the other two major three-week tours – the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España. Durango WorldTour rookie Quinn Simmons, who competes in the Trek-Segafredo team, said it would be crucial for the Tour de France to race in 2020, otherwise the teams would face a serious financial situation. Kuss too recognizes the importance of the Tour de France for sport and its athletes.

Clouds of fans clog the city streets, winding roads and mountain passes of the Tour de France during the three-week cycling show.
Christophe Ena / Associated Press

Sepp Kuss cooperated in Spain as Tour de France is postponed

Clouds of fans clog the city streets, winding roads and mountain passes of the Tour de France during the three-week cycling show.

Christophe Ena / Associated Press

“For cycling as a whole, we really need the Tour,” said Kuss. “The way cycling is organized, the style of the teams and the stability of the sport depends pretty much on the sponsors. Without the major income-generating events in terms of television exposure like the Tour brings, this is not good for sponsors or cyclists. All that we can do as a sport to make the Tour de France a reality is quite crucial for many teams and sponsors. “

“Too much weighs in the balance”Kuss said he was grateful to one of his team’s main sponsors, Jumbo, who is one of the largest supermarket companies in the world. But other teams have already struggled to get funding and be able to pay the athletes due to the cancellation of the spring and summer races. More events are added to the list each week. While events can be postponed until the fall, many smaller events simply won’t be able to find space to host races in 2020.

Sepp Kuss cooperated in Spain as Tour de France is postponed

Former disgraced pro cyclist Lance Armstrong, who won seven Tour de France titles but was ultimately robbed of doping victories, called on professional cyclists to form a stronger union this week in his Instagram podcast.

“Now is your chance to start from scratch, sit at the negotiating table and take power,” said Armstrong on the “The Move” podcast. “If you don’t take this opportunity now, you may never take it again.” … Speak like a platoon and unite. You are the actors of the play and without the actors, the play is canceled. “

Kuss said that Armstrong made good points.

“Today more than ever, we see the structure on which the bike is built. In an ideal world, it works. But, as you can see now, it depends almost entirely on all of these different sponsors, ”said Kuss. “There is no revenue sharing like other franchise sports. There is no strong union. It would be amazing if there was a lockout or something in cycling where people stand up for their wages or something. In a way, we have to have low points to realize what has to change. This is such a serious situation, and too much hangs in the balance.

“We need a stronger union. We have a union, so to speak, but we pay part of our salary to that union. They don’t seem to have the political power, more or less, to help us even when it comes to having some sort of post-career safety net or a safety net if something goes wrong like the situation we have now. You see on what fragile ground everything is built. “

A rescheduled tourKuss came out of a sparkling 2019 season in which he won his first stage in a Grand Tour with a climb from stage 15 to the Spanish Vuelta. He was named to his team for the Tour de France in December after a route that revealed a lot of climbing, Kuss’ specialty. Kuss is also a close support runner to his Slovenian teammate Primož Roglic, who won last year’s Vuelta and finished third in the Giro. In 2020, Roglic and Kuss had to prepare for the Tour de France.

“It’s a disappointment, for sure,” said Kuss. “But when you realize how global the situation is and that I am in a privileged position with a roof over my head, still employed and here in Spain in good company, not being able to run or go out to cycle is not bad as part of everything that is going on. Everyone is in the same boat. COVID-19 is a huge problem for everyone around the world. Sport is secondary to what is going on.

“For me, running is a small part of what I love with my bike. It’s a shame, but it’s not the end of the world. “

Tuesday evening, French newspapers began to announce that the new dates for the Tour de France 2020 will be held from August 29 to September 20.

“Since it is now impossible for the Tour to start on its scheduled date, we are consulting (the International Cycling Union) to try to find new dates,” said Tour de France organizer Amaury Sport Organization on Tuesday.

The Spanish Vuelta of 2020 is scheduled from August 14 to September 6. The Giro had already been postponed from its May dates and could now push into October.

Sepp Kuss, of Durango, before, climbed to sixth on the grand climbing stage of the Tour de La Provence earlier this season as he prepared for the Tour de France 2020. Now he will have to wait at least August to have your first chance at the biggest sport event.
Jumbo-Visma courtesy team

Sepp Kuss cooperated in Spain as Tour de France is postponed

Sepp Kuss, of Durango, before, climbed to sixth on the grand climbing stage of the Tour de La Provence earlier this season as he prepared for the Tour de France 2020. Now he will have to wait at least August to have your first chance at the biggest sport event.

Jumbo-Visma courtesy team

Kuss said he thought the teams could support the Vuelta and the Tour de France during the overlapping dates.

“A lot of runners will be ready and willing to run,” said Kuss. “The numbers would not be a problem for the staff and the riders for these races. But the stakeholders and sponsors of these races may not want to share the spotlight with other races or organizations. I think it depends on whether people are ready to unite or not.

“The actors and stakeholders in cycling sometimes have different interests. At the end of the day, everyone realizes that the Tour is the flagship race on which cycling must rest. I think they will sacrifice, if they have to, everything for the Tour. “

“No possibility of movement”Kuss, like thousands of other cyclists, is unable to train outdoors or take group rides with his team. In real life, of course.

Zwift indoor cycling has become the gathering place for cyclists during blockages and home orders linked to the pandemic. Athletes can use an indoor trainer who can translate their movements into the virtual world. The Tour of Flanders in Belgium organized a Zwift version of the race on April 5. Other events have joined the eRace movement, and many pros have turned to virtual racing while working to stay in shape. Kuss and Simmons participated in team walks via Zwift, and Payson McElveen of Durango also organized group walks via the app. Zwift has become so popular that the online store is experiencing order delays due to increased demand.

Kuss won one of this team’s races. Thursday, he will organize a group ride through his Jumbo-Visma team on Zwift at 11:30 am Thursday.

“I can’t go out here in Spain. Since we started full lockdown, I’ve started on Zwift, “said Kuss. “It’s quite fun and it speeds up the outings a bit. I have generally never been able to do more than 90 minutes on the trainer or consecutive days on the trainer. Now I’m in week 4 of riding indoors. “

Kuss enjoyed driving on real-world courses via Zwift, from Innsbruck, Austria, the site of the 2018 world championships, to the opening stage of the 2019 Giro time trial.

“They are identical. It’s crazy, “said Kuss. “The buildings look the same, the climb is the same, the paved sections are the same. It’s really cool. Every Saturday we did a team race to have friendly jokes among the guys. You get great training. Some of the team members are in Belgium or the Netherlands where you can still ride outside, but many of us cannot get out. It’s nice to be part of the team and encourage everyone to ride together or do these group hikes for the fans. “

Cycling fans across Europe can still get their fix on the Eurosport network, which has broadcast Zwift virtual races. Sepp Kuss of Durango will be on Saturday for his Jumbo-Visma team race as well as for a virtual Tour de Suisse on April 24.
Jumbo-Visma courtesy team

Sepp Kuss cooperated in Spain as Tour de France is postponed

Cycling fans across Europe can still get their fix on the Eurosport network, which has broadcast Zwift virtual races. Sepp Kuss of Durango will be on Saturday for his Jumbo-Visma team race as well as for a virtual Tour de Suisse on April 24.

Jumbo-Visma courtesy team

Saturday’s Jumbo-Visma team race on Zwift will be broadcast on the Eurosport television channel. Kuss also plans to participate in a Zwift Tour de Suisse race on April 24 which will be broadcast in Europe.

While Kuss says it’s fun and a great workout, he’s going a little crazy being stuck inside in Spain.

“It makes you hungrier for fresh air,” he said. “If you have to go to the grocery store or anything, you have to provide documents, go through a police check, wear rubber gloves and a face mask. They spray you with rubbing alcohol and you can start going up to the grocery store. It’s a very real situation, quite complete here.

“They dig deep into the football reruns. At some point, all the home fitness workouts on Instagram will dry up and people will start going really crazy. At this point, I’m here for the long haul. Where I am right now, there is no possibility of movement. I’m here, remaining optimistic, everything is opening up and we have a normal life to come. “

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