The talent is there: the Americans who impressed us in this year’s Tour de France

When the roads turn up, the Americans shine

Matteo Jorgenson on the Puy de Dôme, shadowed by Mike Woods
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The American contingent in the peloton has had a resurgence recently, with more riders competing at the highest level in the world and seizing opportunities when they arise, resulting in some impressive performances. 

We noticed some great rides from Americans in the early season, but it was at the Tour de France this past month, where we saw some remarkable rides from the Americans. There were just six Americans among the 176-rider peloton but that didn't keep them from putting on a show. 

We saw Movistar rider Matteo Jorgenson hunting for a stage win on one of the toughest climbs of the race, the Puy de Dôme. And the Idaho-native came pretty darn close. Jorgenson had an excellent eye for breakaways this year, getting himself into several successful escapes throughout the 21 days of racing. Stage nine became one of Jorgenson's stand-out performances when he got himself into the winning breakaway and attacked solo with nearly 50 brutal, uphill kilometers left in the stage. Dreaming of stage victory, Jorgenson raced up the Puy de Dôme, only to get caught by the race leaders in the last 500 meters. He finished in fourth place. 

Just three stages later, on stage 12, Jorgenson would find himself in another winning breakaway, alongside Tibot Pinot (FDJ-Groupama), Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), Ion Izagirre (Cofidis), Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin Deceuninck). Jorgenson would finish a valiant third on the stage after fruitlessly chasing Izigirre, the winner, and finding himself in a two-up sprint with Burgaudeau. 

Unfortunately, we would not see much more Jorgenson as a crash would have him retiring before stage 16, citing a torn muscle in his hamstring. While Jorgenson couldn't secure the stage win, his bold riding style and excellent climbing has us believing he will find success soon.

Neilson Powless (EF-Education-EasyPost) in the Tour de France Polka Dot jersey

Neilson Powless (EF-Education-EasyPost) in the Tour de France Polka Dot jersey

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Another climbing talent on display this year was 26-year-old Neilson Powless. The EF Education-Easypost rider took the Polka Dot jersey on stage two and wore the jersey until stage 15. With 14 days in the polka dot jersey, he has become only the fifth American to wear the coveted jersey

Powless impressed us with his consistency and ability to continue to make the breakaways and gain points for the KOM competition. Showing the versatility we have seen before from Powless, he was active on all types of stages, from punchy rollers to the long Alps. Whilst hunting for KOM points, he also netted a top-10 finish on stage nine and an 11th-place finish on stage six.

Sepp Kuss, super domestique, during the 2023 Tour de France, riding in support of GC leader Jonas Vingegaard

Sepp Kuss, super domestique, during the 2023 Tour de France, riding in support of GC leader Jonas Vingegaard

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Finally, Durago-native Sepp Kuss emerged as one of the most impressive riders of the entire Tour. The Jumbo-Visma rider was again instrumental in the overall win for his teammate Jonas Vingegaard. The 28-year-old domestique showed off his incredible climbing ability as he worked for his leader. Often, when Kuss finished his last pull, the only riders remaining would be Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar

Kuss was also impressive with his consistency. With solid finishes despite giving his all for Vingegaard, Kuss would sit as high as sixth place overall. This GC placing would have been one of the highest finishes for an American in quite a few years and a career-best for Kuss. Unfortunately, a crash on the last lap would push him down to 12th, but he remained the highest-placed American in the overall standings. While Kuss did not replicate a stage win, Kuss rode extremely consistently and showed himself to be one of the most valuable domestiques in the world when the road points uphill.

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Henry Lord

Henry Lord is a Cycling Weekly Intern. He grew up in southern Maine and was introduced to mountain biking by his dad. Lord grew up racing mountain bikes and cyclocross across the East Coast as well as downhill and XC skiing. He moved out west to Durango, Colorado to start college at Fort Lewis, where in the last two years he has focused on road racing in addition to studying Communication design and marketing.