In professional cycling, two-year contracts and one-year extensions are the norm but Jumbo-Visma have gone even further to keep their top talent, offering first Wout van Aert and now American climber Sepp Kuss contracts for three more years, forming the foundation of the 2024 team.
The team announced on Friday the extension for Kuss, the 26-year-old who so deftly supported Primož Roglič in the mountains in last year’s Tour de France and Vuelta a España.
“I’m really happy to extend with the team. For me, over the past three years, it has felt really comfortable for me,” Kuss said in a statement from the team. “Everybody on the staff and all the riders make Team Jumbo-Visma a very nice environment for me.
“The special thing about the team is that everybody understands me as an athlete and, more importantly, as a person. That way we get the most out of each other. I always get opportunities and that helps me stay motivated. We are always striving for something big at this team and that’s really exciting and really special. So I hope to continue that and keep making some good memories.”
Kuss started his professional career with Rally Cycling after racing mostly mountain bikes while studying advertising at the University of Colorado Boulder. In his first race with the team he won the Mont-Mégantic stage of the Tour de Beauce – the first demonstration of his climbing prowess on an international stage.
In 2017, he finished second on the Snowbasin stage of Tour of Utah behind Brent Bookwalter and second overall to teammate Evan Huffman in the Tour of Alberta and caught the eye of the WorldTour team. After half a year of racing at the sport’s top level, Kuss returned in 2018 to win two stages and the overall Tour of Utah before completing his first Grand Tour in the Vuelta a España, where he supported Steven Kruijswijk to a fourth place overall.
By 2019, he established himself as one of Roglič’s top climbing domestiques, helping the Slovenian to third in the Giro d’Italia and the victory in the Vuelta a España, where Kuss soloed to victory on stage 15 at the Santuario del Acebo. Last season he won a stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné and supported Roglič again to second in the Tour and another Vuelta victory.
Jumbo-Visma directeur sportif Merijn Zeeman was pleased to extend the contract to the talented American.
“Sepp is one of the best climbers in the peloton. He has grown into a rider who takes his own chances, but he is also super important in supporting the leaders. He is increasingly becoming a leader himself and we will guide him in discovering his limits in the upcoming years.”
Only a small number of riders in the peloton have contracts through 2024, including Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Rudy Molard and Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), Max Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe).
Roglič is contracted with Jumbo-Visma through 2023 along with Dylan Groenewegen, Sam Oomen, Gijs Leemreize, Olav Kooij and Eduardo Affini.