Quinn Simmons withdraws from Worlds due to post-Tour de France fatigue
When USA Cycling announced its squad for the UCI Road World Championships in Wollongong, Australia, one name was surprisingly absent – that of Quinn Simmons, the 2019 Junior World Champion.
Asked about his omission from the Maryland Cycling Classic, the 21-year-old said he was too tired from his Tour de France debut to accept a spot.
“It’s a long season for all of us. I’ve already made four trips to Europe and I’m pretty tired after the Tour,” Simmons said. Cycling news. “At some point, you have to say enough is enough.
“I still have to come back one more day at the end of the season. I spoke with Jim Miller at USA Cycling, and told him that I didn’t have the mental energy left in the year to go, and I don’t want to take a place and not be able to do my job.”
Simmons made his presence known at the Tour de France, attacking to make the day’s break on five stages, including two mountainous stages and the day in Saint-Etienne where he helped set up team-mate Mads Pedersen for victory.
It was a colossal undertaking for a young professional on his first Tour. He missed out on a stage win but won the most aggressive rider award after stage 19 at Cahors.
“I really wanted to dump and give everything I had there, and I think I succeeded because I haven’t been able to ride the bike very well since,” he said.
“For a first Tour, it was nice. Obviously, we hope to win a stage, but we did everything except that. You know, I want to go back and finish the job now.”
Fatigue barely showed at the Maryland Cycling Classic, where Simmons again rode a long-distance breakaway, winning the mountain standings and finishing eighth.
With a strong build and a full beard (back after a mid-Tour de France shave), it’s easy to forget that Simmons is just 21 and in his first year post-neo-pro. His first season with Trek-Segafredo in 2020 was marred by insensitive social media posts that earned him a brief suspension from the team.
Since then, he has let his legs do the talking and proved to be versatile, with an overall victory in the Tour de Wallonie last season and two victories in the mountain classification this year in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Suisse.
“It’s my third year, it really doesn’t look like that. Because the first year and a half was really ruined by the coronavirus. So I still feel like a pretty young pro, even though I have three seasons now I grew up as a driver, and I’m just missing those last percent.”
Next season, Simmons hopes to better manage his efforts over the season to stay fresh for the latter part of the year when the first Unified World Championships take place in Glasgow, Scotland. That could mean he won’t be on offense at every other stage.
“I’ve always set myself pretty high goals anyway, so it’s a bit difficult to achieve them. I want to start my season again with Strade Bianche and go back to the Tour. I think for me, those are two places where I have unfinished business and so obviously I would like to go to Worlds, so we will try to manage the season a bit better and not be so tired at this time of year next year.
“I started as a mountain biker, and just to be there with everyone, especially with the national team. I don’t get to race with my American friends so much, and that brings us all together.”
The season is not over for Simmons, who will travel to the Quebec and Montreal GPs before returning to Belgium for the season-ending block of one-day races. Trek-Segafredo have the luxury of not worrying too much about the points chase in the WorldTour promotion/relegation battle, but every team behind titans Jumbo-Visma, UAE Team Emirates and Ineos Grenadiers have felt the heat.
“It’s something that’s on everyone’s mind now and was definitely part of the decision,” Simmons said. “The team asked me to do these errands at the end of the year and at the end of the day they are the ones who pay your salary.”
The fight for points has played with the normal dynamics of pro racing, only the points of the top 10 riders count, riders who could get results end up working for riders who already have points and some teams have focused more on the top stack. 10 rather than winning.
“The last six months of the season, [the dynamic] changed. I think we were never in a panicked position, so we didn’t really feel it, but you see some of the tactics and strategies that the other riders employed – it certainly changed the situation.”