Chris Horner: Targeting the Giro d’Italia is the perfect recipe for Sepp Kuss

'I don't know who can beat him outside of the top four riders in the world' says 2013 Vuelta a España winner

Clock16:34, Tuesday 24th October 2023

Chris Horner believes that Sepp Kuss has the chance to win back-to-back Grand Tours if the Jumbo-Visma rider targets the Giro d’Italia next May.

Kuss won the Vuelta a España in September, becoming the first American male rider to win a Grand Tour since Horner won the Spanish race a decade ago. 

Read more: Chris Horner: Jumbo-Visma backed Sepp Kuss in Vuelta a España due to fans' outcry and PR nightmare

Jumbo-Visma’s Grand Tour ambitions will be announced in December but with the Giro d’Italia route now out, and the Tour de France presentation taking place on Wednesday, Horner thinks that Kuss should be pushing for solo leadership in Italy before supporting teammate Jonas Vingegaard in July.

Vingegaard is expected to aim for a third consecutive Tour win but he will be challenged by Remco Evenepoel, Tadej Pogačar and former Jumbo-Visma teammate Primož Roglič.

“Sepp could go for the Giro next year, and why not? It’s the perfect recipe with the four big GC favourites doing the Tour de France, and I don’t see any of them doing the Giro-Tour double,” Horner, who runs his own YouTube channel, told GCN.

“That leaves the door open for Kuss, and he’s just going to have to battle against a couple of favourites like Jai Hindley, Cian Uijtdebroeks and possibly Geraint Thomas. Who else could beat Kuss if he went there at 100 per cent of form? If I’m looking at Jumbo-Visma, who else am I bringing to win the Giro?"

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"I don't know who can beat Sepp outside of the top four riders in the world. He’d have to drop Geraint Thomas somewhere, but if I was Ineos I’d be sending Thomas to the Giro because they’re not going to win the Tour unless someone on that team gets better. Their stretch of winning is over, even if Egan Bernal comes back to his best.”

'Jumbo can be cocky with their energy,' says Horner

According to Horner, the Jumbo-Visma management might be slightly reluctant to give Kuss a shot at the Giro as it might weaken the team’s proposition at the Tour de France a few months later.

That said, the former rider pinpointed the incredible depth within the Dutch team, as well as their ability to develop riders. The team won all three Grand Tours in 2023 with different riders, and although Roglič has moved on the team has strengthened in several departments, leaving them with enough riders to run several competitive line-ups throughout the stage racing season.

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“If I was Sepp, I’d do the Giro. If I was his team I’d hold him back for the Tour because you want to win that race but if I was Sepp, I’d be pushing for that Giro,” Horner said. “At his age, he almost has to go for leadership again because of his Vuelta win. He’s on the best team in the world and they seem to be able to make riders step up a level. They don’t buy great riders, they make great riders. Kuss wasn’t a Grand Tour winner, now he is. No one had heard of Roglic, and now he’s won four Grand Tours. Same with Vingegaard. Who was he or Tobias Foss?”

“Absolutely I think Kuss going to the Giro weakens Jumbo for the Tour de France but we all thought that last year and he still did both, and the team won both. Jumbo can be cocky with their energy, and they seem to think that they have an unlimited source of energy, and so far it’s worked. They just throw it out there like we’ve never seen. Just go back two years to the Tour when Wout van Aert is wearing the yellow jersey and he’s going up the road with [Jakob] Fuglsang and [Quinn] Simmons. It was insane the amount of energy he was using for a team looking to win the race.”

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