PAYSON, UTAH (Aug. 8, 2018) – A powerful solo attack by Sepp Kuss (USA) of Team LottoNL-Jumbo lasted 32 miles from the slopes of Mount Nebo for a thrilling win on Stage 2 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Wednesday. The victory in downtown Payson City put the 23-year-old in the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies overall leader’s jersey.
– Pictures by Darrell Parks, Words by Tour of Utah –
Kuss covered the 88.6-mile course in 3 hours and 25 minutes. Crossing the line 29 seconds later was his teammate Neilson Powless (USA), who won the sprint for second place ahead of Rally Cycling’s Kyle Murphy (USA).
Kuss attacked and passed the dwindling peloton on the steep, lower slopes of Mount Nebo, the highest mountain in the Wasatch Range of Utah. He was alone at the top, 9,300 feet above sea level at the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climb and held off a hard-charging chase group on the exhilarating 23-mile descent to the finish.
“At the beginning of the climb, I felt really strong. Pete Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) made a little surge, maybe three or four k (kilometers) into the climb. I followed that, and still felt pretty good and the gap kept going. I just kept going at a reasonable speed. It was not the most pleasant experience out there in the headwind, but (I was) happy to make it to the finish line,” explained Kuss, who had a one-minute lead on the chasing group of elite riders as he crested Mount Nebo.
Making its seventh appearance at the Tour of Utah, the legendary Mount Nebo stage brought major changes to the 2018 overall leaderboard. The victory gives Kuss a 21-second General Classification (G.C.) lead over Powless. Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team dropped from first to third, 25 seconds down. Murphy surged from 27th to fourth overall on G.C. Joe Dombrowski (USA) jumped up five spots to fifth overall, 38 seconds behind Kuss.
The Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain jersey stayed with Daan Olivier (NED) of Team LottoNL-Jumbo and Powless is back in the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey.
“Sepp is definitely the strongest guy in the race right now, that’s insane,” said Powless. “I was incredibly happy, at a loss for words. You don’t get to celebrate when you finish second very often, but when your teammate finishes first and you come in across the line next, that’s about as special as it gets.”
After a fast and furious start on Stage 2, Travis McCabe (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team claimed the first intermediate sprint in front of historic Peteetneet Museum in Payson, and retained the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey. Griffin Easter (USA) of 303 Project, the last rider from the six-man breakaway to be reeled in after 40 miles in the saddle, was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Gage Hecht (USA) of Aevolo Pro Cycling was voted America First Credit Union Fan Favorite, in the category of Most Promising Rookie.
Stage 3 presented by America First Credit Union on Thursday, Aug. 9 is the longest stage of the week at 116.4 miles (188 km). A new start on the far end of Antelope Island State Park takes place at the Garr Ranch. It is the third time the Tour has started on the island. After a wind-swept seven miles over the causeway to cross the Great Salt Lake’s Farmington Bay to the mainland, the race will serpentine through Davis County to the new finish in Layton City. There are three Sprint lines in Davis County, once in Syracuse and twice in Farmington. One short, steep KOM up the Bountiful Bench could be the launching pad for a late breakaway. On the return stretch from Bountiful, the race will pass through Hill Air Force Base for a second year. After five circuits through Layton Commons Park, a stage winner will be crowned on North Wasatch Drive across from the park.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. The Tour of Utah remains a 2.HC-rated stage race on the UCI America Tour, making it one of the premier events for professional cycling teams in North America. It is also one of the prominent road cycling events that is also part of USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour.
RESULTS AND STANDINGS:
KUSS Sepp (USA), TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 3.25’58”
POWLESS Neilson (USA), TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 3.26’27” +29″
MURPHY Kyle (USA), RALLY CYCLING – 3.26’27” +29”
VILLALOBOS HERNANDEZ Luis Ricardo (MEX), AEVOLO – 3.26’30” +32”
HERMANS Ben (BEL), ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY – 3.26’30” +32″
WOODS Michael (CAN), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 3.26’30” +32″
BOOKWALTER Brent (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 3.26’30” +32″
HAIG Jack (AUS), MITCHELTON-SCOTT – 3.26’30” +32″
MANNION Gavin (USA), UNITEDHEALTHCARE – 3.26’30” +32″
SWIRBUL Keegan (USA), JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS – 3.26’30” +32″
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION (After Stage 2) – Top 10
KUSS Sepp (USA) TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 7.49’37”
POWLESS Neilson (USA), TEAM LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 7.49’58” +21″
VAN GARDEREN Tejay (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 7.50’02” +25″
MURPHY Kyle (USA), RALLY CYCLING – 7.50’14” +37″
DOMBROWSKI Joseph Lloyd (USA), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 7.50’15” +38″
MANNION Gavin (USA), UNITEDHEALTHCARE – 7.50’15” +38″
CARTHY Hugh John (GBR), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 7.50’15” +38″
WOODS Michael (CAN), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 7.50’16” +39″
HAIG Jack (AUS), MITCHELTON-SCOTT – 7.50’17” +40″
BOOKWALTER Brent (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 7.50’17” +40″
Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall leader – Sepp Kuss (USA), Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Utah Sports Commission Sprint leader – Travis McCabe (USA), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain – Daan Olivier (NED), Team LottoNL-Jumbo
WCF Insurance Best Young Rider – Neilson Powless (USA), Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider – Griffin Easter (USA), 303 Project
America First Credit Union Fan Favorite – Gage Hecht (USA), Aevolo Pro Cycling
About the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, referred to as “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM,” is a week-long, professional cycling stage race for the best men’s teams in the world. The 2018 event will be held Aug. 6-12, covering 548 miles of racing and 43,780 feet of elevation gain. Now in its 14th year, the event was elevated in 2015 as a 2.HC-rated UCI stage race, making it one of the premier events in North America. The Tour of Utah is owned by Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment. More information about the Tour of Utah, host venues and professional teams can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (tourofutah), Instagram (thetourofutah) and YouTube (tourofutah).