Jonas Vingegaard: 'I am 100% sure that myself, Sepp Kuss and Primož Roglič are not taking anything'

Jumbo-Visma will become the first team to win all three of cycling's Grand Tours in the same season

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jumbo-Visma's three Vuelta a España podium finishers have all insisted that the team's phenomenal season is believable and will stand the test of time.

Sepp Kuss is set to win the Vuelta in Madrid on Sunday, with Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard in second and Giro d'Italia victor Primož Roglič placing third.

The Dutch outfit have established themselves as one of the all time great cycling teams, with domination also replicated in shorter stage races and one-day Classics. 

Scepticism, however, has also creeped into the narrative surrounding the team, heightened by the provisional doping suspension of their rider Michel Hessmann for a banned diuretic; the German was a key domestique for Roglič at the Giro but tested positive in an out-of-competition test in mid-June.

Just this week, with the Vuelta podium lock-out looking secure, the team had to fight off allegations from a former French team manager who claimed, without evidence, that Sepp Kuss had mechanical assistance on stage 13, en-route to the Tourmalet summit finish. There has never been a proven case of motor-doping, or technological fraud, in men's cycling.

At the Vuelta's podium press conference, all three riders were asked for their comments on doping, and questioned on how the sport should reflect on the team's achievements in the past year.

Kuss, a first-time Grand Tour winner, said: "I think for me personally, cheating or doping is just out of the question because it’s not even sports for me then.

"Part of sports is losing, and of course you want to win but if you’re doing something that’s prohibited or cheating then you’re afraid of losing, which I think is one of the most important things about sports: accepting that sometimes you’re not good enough. That’s just how it is."

In an interview with Cycling Weekly in February 2022, Kuss similarly commented: "I’m not the guy who needs to win at all costs. If I lose or fail, it’s not going to define me as a person, even though I do want to win. But I like to focus on the process, enjoy training day to day, and if it’s meant to be then it happens. For me, that’s enjoyment."

Vingegaard, well-rehearsed in these types of questions after responding to several of them at the last two Tours de France, was the first to answer. "For sure we understand the scepticism that there is but people also need to know how much we sacrifice for everything and how much we do everything in detail," the Dane said.

"We go into every detail to be as good as possible. I think that especially in this team, we do everything perfectly and it makes such a big difference, and I don’t think that people realise how much of a difference it makes. 

"I think it’s always good to be sceptical, especially when a team is doing well, as long as it’s not allegations. As long as we speak about it, because of what happened 20 years ago, then I think that will prevent it happening again.

"I’m 100 per cent sure that my two colleagues are not taking anything as well as myself."

Roglič, who had been aiming to win the Vuelta for a record-equalling fourth time, said that "my colleague [Jonas] already explained it super good."

He added: "I mean, everyone has an option or possibility to have doubts or [their own] opinions, but for me personally what I can say is that we put a lot of hard work in, [and make] sacrifices each week. It’s nice if we can win... at the moment, it’s a special victory."

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