'Eagle of Durango' flies the coop ahead of Single Speed Worlds

Sepp Kuss will not contest the coveted tattoo as he vacations with his new wife in the Maldives instead

Sepp Kuss Tour de France 2022
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Eagle of Durango has flown the coop! 

We can now report that American climbing talent Sepp Kuss will not anonymously contest the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC) in Durango after all. 

Initially registered as "The Eagle of Durango," Kuss was suppose to be the surprise celebrity racer at this year's event, and as a dirt-loving Durango-native and former three-time collegiate mountain bike champ, he would have been a great fit.

Over the years, several cycling stars have shown interest in the rambunctious end-of-year-party that is the SSCXWC, and some have contested under aliases, most notably Belgian cyclocross legend Sven Nys, who raced as "Stan Nice" in December 2016.

Instead of vying for the coveted winner's tattoo, the 28-year-old WorldTour rider is currently vacationing in the Maldives with his new wife.

Kuss told Cycling Weekly that his end of season plans changed last-minute when he ended up racing the Tour de France criteriums in Singapore and Japan. 

Kuss confirmed that he'd indeed been registered for the single speed world champs and is bummed to miss it. 

After two years of Covid postponements,  the very unofficial, unsanctioned and anarchistic World Championships are back, and kicking off today with the qualifying rounds.

Now in its 14th rendition, the SSCXWC is a celebration of all the things we love about ‘cross: playing on bike in the mud, beer,  hand-ups, fried foods, spectator engagement and a healthy dose of competition, without the limitation of pesky rules around sock length, tires width, barrier height, flat bars or course features.  

In fact, there’s only one enforced rule: the winner must immortalize their victory with a tattoo or forever be shunned from the single-speed community. 

Other, unspoken rules include wearing a costume, checking your sobriety at the door and to not take yourself seriously. 

Even without Kuss' presence, there are plenty of pros amid the participants including the likes of Stephan Davoust (Giant Factory Team), LifetIme Grand Prix winner Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz Bicycles), Specialized off-road pro Russel Finsterwald, elite cyclocrosser Sunny Gilbert, retired domestic pro roadie Beth Ann Orten and gravel pro Sarah Sturm.

To follow this year's wildest World Championship, the event's Instagram account is probably your best bet. We'll also have a race report and photos for you early next week here on cyclingweekly.com

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.