Bart Lemmen replaces unfit Sepp Kuss for Tour de France

Team Visma | Lease a Bike has announced a change in its Tour de France line-up as Sepp Kuss will not start the race on Saturday. The American, who recently won the Vuelta a España, has not recovered sufficiently from an illness he contracted during the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Kuss, who withdrew from the Critérium du Dauphiné with mild Covid symptoms on the penultimate day, seemed to be on the mend after a week. However, his condition plateaued in recent days, prompting the team to make the difficult decision.

Sporting director Merijn Zeeman stated, “This is of course very hard for Sepp in the first place. His contribution is always very important in the team, but then of course he has to be completely fit. Unfortunately, we had to conclude together today that this is insufficiently the case, after Covid. He now needs to recover properly and will therefore not start. Fortunately, we have a good replacement ready with Bart Lemmen.”

Bart Lemmen, 28, joined Team Visma | Lease a Bike in January and has only been a professional cyclist for a year. He has rapidly developed, achieving top five and top 10 finishes in the Tour Down Under and UAE Tour. His recent second place in the overall classification of the Tour of Norway highlights his progress.

Zeeman added, “Despite only being a professional for 1.5 years, Bart is already proving to be a very reliable and strong rider. He learns quickly and proved it this year with several good classifications. He is a good climber, and he willingly sacrifices himself for his leader Jonas Vingegaard. I have a lot of confidence in Bart.”

It is worth noting that Team Visma | Lease a Bike has never won a Grand Tour without Sepp Kuss in the line-up, underscoring the significance of his absence in their pursuit of success in the Tour de France.