Quinn Simmons was in the sprint for a win Tuesday in France.
The 19-year-old from Durango came across the finish line in sixth place at the 84th Bretagne Classic Ouest-France, a one-day road cycling race in Plouay in northwestern France.
The race was won by Australia’s Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb. He completed the 154-mile route in 6 hours, 1 minute, 14 seconds. That was one second ahead of Slovenia’s Luka Mezgec, France’s Florian Sénéchal, Belgium’s Aimé De Gendt, Italy’s Alessandro Fedeli and Simmons, who finished second through sixth, respectively.
It was the longest one-day race of Simmons’ young career. The American from Trek-Segafredo is competing at the World Tour level after he skipped the under-23 ranks following his win at the junior world championships in 2019.
“In the end, a small selection was made on the final climb at (2 kilometers), and I was able to hang on for sixth,” Simmons said in a message to The Durango Herald. “A good step up, and now the next step is the first victory.”
Riders faced heavy rain for the first four hours of the race Tuesday before the sun broke through the clouds. The circuit course was filled with eight punchy climbs with grades between 4.6% and 8.1%.
“Hard rolling course where you had to be focused all day,” Simmons said. “Unfortunately, the racing didn’t kick off until quite late in the day, and the bunch stayed quite big. Was hoping for a smaller group coming into the final lap.”
Simmons, the youngest World Tour pro cyclist, has been busy since his return to Europe following the COVID-19 pandemic, and his form has steadily improved. The sixth-place finish was the first top 10 on the World Tour for Simmons.
“Our young gun (Simmons) showed some flare in the tough French Classic, attacking, marking other moves in the final (50 kilometers) and ultimately catching a late break of 7 riders with (1,500) meters remaining and finishing in 6th place,” Trek-Segafredo said in a post to Instagram. “We gotta admit – we like the way this rookie races!”
Ten days earlier, Simmons had finished 39th at the Dwars oor het Hageland one-day race in Belgium. That was one week after he placed 16th overall after five days at the Tour of Poland in his first race since March.
Being back in the mix at the finish line Tuesday brought back familiar feelings for the Durangoan.
“Thanks to Trek-Segafredo for putting faith in me today,” Simmons said. “Really nice to be racing aggressive and be apart of a nice final.”
Saturday, while the cycling world will turn it’s attention to the start of the Tour de France, Simmons will head to the 41st Tour de Hungary. It is a five-stage race. Simmons will use it for further preparation for the upcoming rescheduled one-day classic races, most notably the 118th Paris-Roubaix, which is scheduled for Oct. 25.