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Simmons, Kuss set to compete in Vuelta a Espana

The road bike race is the final grand tour of the season
Durango's Sepp Kuss, pictured, and Quinn Simmons will both compete in the Vuelta a Espana beginning Saturday. Courtesy of Team Jumbo-Visma

Seven Americans will compete in the Vuelta a Espana beginning Saturday, and two of them are from Durango.

Sepp Kuss, 26, will be racing for team Jumbo Visma, and Quinn Simmons, 20, will race for Trek Segafredo in the Spanish tour.

“Seven for us is actually a lot,” Simmons said.

The 21-stage tour will be Simmons’ first grand tour. He said he was supposed to compete in the Tour de France, but a crash earlier in the season derailed his plans.

Simmons said he’s now all healed up. Two weeks ago, in fact, he claimed the overall crown at the Tour de Wallonie, a five-stage race in Belgium.

“It was good, especially after two years of everything not going so great,” Simmons said. “It was nice.”

Racing 21 stages, however, will be his longest competition by far. He said the longest race he’s done before was seven days.

The other two grand tours are Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.

Jumbo Visma finished near the top in both those competitions, placing second as a team in Italy and then third in France. Trek Segafredo, meanwhile, finished sixth in the Giro d’Italia and seventh in the Tour de France.

“We have a good group, it’s pretty fun,” Simmons said. “(The team) is really good.”

The Vuelta will begin with its first of two time trials. The 21 days also will feature eight flat stages, including two with high-altitude finales, four hilly stages and seven mountain stages. The bikers will get a rest day after the ninth and 15th stages.

Simmons said the time trial “only matters for the guys going for the overall title.”

“Later in the race there’s some semi-mountain days,” Simmons said. “If all is going well, those will be some good targets.”

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