After climbing with the best rider’s in the world a week ago at the Amgen Tour of California, Sepp Kuss returned home to Durango, Colorado, to win the iconic Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. One of the toughest road races in North America, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is just 50 miles long, but climbs over 5351 ft and ascends three mountain passes on its way from Durango to Silverton.
The day started with a breakaway forming early as the peloton rolled through the valley north of Durango. With the gap growing to almost six minutes, Kuss went on the attack as soon as the road turned upward. Mark Aasmundstud and Howard Grotts were the only riders able to match the pace of Kuss, and the trio were soon alone at the front of the race. On the final climb over Molas Pass, Kuss went solo to win in a time of 2:21:50. Joining Kuss in the thin mountain air of Colorado was Colin Joyce, who showed his climbing legs with a strong 20th place finish.
“It was great to return to my hometown road race and the tight-knight Durango cycling community," said Kuss. “The Iron Horse has a bit of a reputation as a Mountain Biker's road race, so it was fun to mix it up with my old mountain biking buddies. Once we hit the climbs, I felt great and started attacking immediately. I also had Colin Joyce with me visiting for the weekend, and it was awesome to see him climb long mountain passes above 10,000ft with some of the best climbers in the country. If I could have set him up for the sprint at the end it would have been awesome, and a great return for all the work he has done for me and others this season, but the breakaway had six minutes starting the climbs, so I knew I had to start attacking.”