Sepp Kuss stayed hot on a cold day in Switzerland.
Kuss navigated wet pavement, tricky descents and punchy climbs to finish eighth Friday during the third stage of the Tour de Romandie. That moved the Durango cyclist from 11th overall to ninth.
Rohan Dennis of the INEOS Grenadiers team crashed with only 10 miles remaining in the 105-mile stage to fall out of the lead. The stage win went to Marc Soler of the Movistar team, who attacked to claim a 22-second victory after the final three circuits around Estavayer. Magnus Cort finished second alongside Stage 1 winner Peter Sagan, who was third.
Kuss is now 21 seconds behind the lead of Soler and only 14 seconds off the podium.
“It was a very tough stage. The weather conditions were not great: rain all day and about (46 degrees). We saw a strong Sepp today,” said Team Jumbo-Visma director Jans Boven in a news release.
Geraint Thomas of INEOS, the 2018 Tour de France winner, is second ahead of teammate Richie Porte, who took third at last year’s Tour de France. They are both 14 seconds behind Soler.
Kuss will be in his element Saturday on a 100-mile mountain stage that features two Category 1 climbs and a summit finish. The start of the fourth stage was moved up in anticipation of cold temperatures and even snow in the forecast.
While the Movistar and INEOS teams will look to control the pace to maintain podium standing, Kuss will get a chance to put in a big attack on the final climb to try to work his way onto the podium, himself.
Sunday’s final stage is a short time trial.