Grounded is an odd word to use to describe one of the best young climbers in the professional peloton, but it’s the word that springs to mind when you first meet Sepp Kuss, the Coloradan climber who has flown high in the mountains over the past couple of seasons.

Back in February, before the global health crisis stopped the 2020 season in its tracks, Nairo Quintana was the man to watch. Kuss went toe to toe with the Colombian on Mont Ventoux in the key stage of the Tour de la Provence.

For a moment it looked as if one of the Ventoux’s epic climbing duels might take shape, but Kuss quickly -and wisely - recognised his limits. “I felt good,” he told Procycling as he soft pedalled his way through the crowds to his team bus. “But not good enough to go with Quintana.”

As the Colombian climbed clear, Kuss was forced to back off, but the higher he climbed, he said, the better he felt, so he gave chase. “It was more like at home, in the high altitude I’m used to. And I’d prefer to go down fighting and not just follow.”

There are some behind the wheels of WorldTour team cars who think Kuss isn’t cut out for leadership duties, citing most often his limited time trialling ability. But you could say much the same of his

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