American Sepp Kuss wins Tour de France's gruelling 15th stage

Stage winner Sepp Kuss of the U.S. celebrates on the podium after the fifteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 191.3 kilometers (118.9 miles) with start in Ceret and finish in Andorra-la-Vella, Andorra, Sunday, July 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

American rider Sepp Kuss won the gruelling 15th stage of the Tour de France on Sunday as race leader Tadej Pogacar remained on course for his second overall victory.

Kuss is the first American to win a stage at cycling's biggest race since Tyler Farrar 10 years ago.

The 26-year-old Colorado native left it late to make his move in the punishing 191-kilometre ride from Ceret at the foothills of the Pyrenees to the tiny mountain-bound nation of Andorra.

Kuss attacked going up the 1,796-meter Col de Beixalis and maintained his hard-fought advantage over Spanish veteran Alejandro Valverde, who was 23 seconds behind. Dutch rider Wout Poels finished third.

With 74 points, Poels pulled eight points ahead of Canadian Michael Woods in the mountain classification. The 34-year-old from Ottawa had claimed the polka dot jersey as king of the mountains with his ride Saturday.

Woods finished 30th on the stage and stands 25th overall.