Sepp Kuss Wins La Vuelta a Espana 2023
The 21st and final stage of La Vuelta a España 2023 was designed as a parade stage from Hipodromo de la Zarzuela to Madrid. The 101.5-kilometer route took the Vuelta peloton through flat terrain and culminated with a circuit race on the roads of Madrid.
The general classification of La Vuelta 2023 was set before the stage and it was clear to everyone that the Jumbo-Visma team would fill all three spots on the final general classification podium in Madrid.
USA’s Sepp Kuss was leading the general classification of this year’s Vuelta ahead of Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard (Denmark) and Giro d’Italia Champion Primoz Roglic (Slovenia).
The Jumbo-Visma team appeared at the start of the final stage arrogantly wearing new cycling jerseys and bibs that showed a pink, a yellow, and a red line – each individual line representing one of the team’s Grand Tour victories this season. The team’s Cervelo bikes also featured the three colored lines to show the world they had dominated the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a Espana this year.
HOW THE STAGE UNFOLDED
The Jumbo-Visma team spearheaded the Vuelta peloton in the first part of stage 21 as the riders approached the Madrid circuit. The speed was relaxed, and no breakaway attempts were launched. All other teams appeared to have succumbed to the Jumbo-Visma dominance.
The Alpecin-Deceunink team moved to the front in the final kilometers before the finishing circuit in order to set up their sprinter Kaden Groves for the intermediate sprint – a sprint he won. He thereby increased his lead in the Points Classification as the best sprinter in this year’s Vuelta.
Belgian national champion Remco Evenepoel launched a solo attack with approximately 38 kilometers left of the final stage. He wanted to secure an additional stage victory for his Soudal-QuickStep team and to defend his pride in today’s stage, which was his final as defending Vuelta a Espana champion after his victory in last year’s edition.
Counter attacks were launched and Nico Denz (Bora-Hansgrohe), Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Rui Costa (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty) moved past the Belgian. The trio built a small advantage over a chase group featuring Evenepoel, Filippo Ganna (Ineos-Grenadiers), Omar Fraile (Ineos-Grenadiers), Kim Heiduk (Ineos-Grenadiers), and Groves. Behind them UAE Team Emirates were pulling the peloton – a few kilometers later they were replaced by EF Education-EasyPost in support of their sprinter.
The front groups merged, and some riders fell back to the main peloton. A group featuring Evenepoel, Ganna, Denz, Kämna, Groves, and Costa was formed. The breakaway hopefuls proved powerful, and the main peloton found it difficult to close the gap. Would the break last all the way to the finish line?
Lotto-Dstny, Team DSM and EF Education-EasyPost were spearheading the main peloton and setting the fastest pace they possibly could. But the front group still had a twenty second advantage with 18 kilometers left.
With ten kilometers left of the final stage, the advantage of the six-man attack group had been reduced to ten seconds.
Evenepoel led the breakaway group onto the final lap on the finishing circuit. The speed was intense, and just four kilometers remained – their advantage was down to seven seconds.
Evenepoel was first to launch a sprint. Groves tried to hang on. Groves won the stage ahead of Ganna and Denz.
Sepp Kuss is the winner of La Vuelta a España 2023. The American won the race in 76:48:21. Jumbo-Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard finished second, 17 seconds behind the new Vuelta champion. Primoz Roglic completed the general classification podium but was 01:08 minutes behind Kuss. UAE Team Emirates’ Juan Ayuso finished fourth. Mikel Landa took fifth for Bahrain-Victorious.
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