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Colby Simmons signs with Jumbo-Visma Development Team

Durango teen racing in junior world championships Friday
Durango's Colby Simmons, center, celebrates after winning the junior 17-18 road race at the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships in Florida this summer. Simmons is joining the Jumbo-Visma development team. (Courtesy photo)

The Jumbo-Visma Development Team has strengthened its ranks for the next two years with American rider Colby Simmons and Dutch rider Jesse Kramer. Both riders currently compete in the junior category and will make their debut in the U23 peloton next year.

U.S. junior champion Simmons is happy with the opportunity he is getting with the Dutch development team. “I’m really looking forward to joining a team that can help me in my development as a cyclist,” Simmons said. “I think Jumbo-Visma Development Team is a perfect stepping stone for my further career and am grateful that I can prove myself here.”

For 17-year-old Kramer, his transfer is a dream come true.

“At the beginning of this season, I didn’t expect that I would get this opportunity. When I was approached, I did not hesitate for long and said yes. In this place, I can learn a lot. The guidance in terms of training, equipment and nutrition is very good here. I would like to take advantage of that to become a better rider and develop myself.”

Head of Development Robbert de Groot sees the two talents as welcome reinforcements for the U23 team. “We think these guys fit well in our team,” he said. “They are two calm guys, and together we will work on their development. Because there have been few races, we have been very careful in our choice of these two riders. With both riders, we think they have a lot of potential. In which direction that is, the future will tell. We are not going to put a stamp on them and they will get plenty of opportunities to develop.”

Durango cyclist Sepp Kuss competes for Jumbo-Visma on its elite team.

Kramer and Simmons are new riders No. 4 and 5 for the Team Jumbo-Visma development team. Tijmen Graat, Per Strand Hagenes and Axandre Van Petegem were previously announced as members.

The development team consists of 13 riders from both the Netherlands and foreign countries. The academy is designed to be the stepping stone for a career as a professional cyclist. The riders participate in national and international races. For a large part, the accompanying staff consists of the same people who work for the professional team, therefore guaranteeing the integration of the Development Team within the overall Team Jumbo-Visma organization.

Simmons is in Belgium and will compete Friday in the junior UCI 2021 Road World Championships. He is one of four riders from USA Cycling scheduled to compete in the race, along with Alexander Gustin, Cole Kessler and Artem Shmidt. The 121.4-kilometer race, 75.434 miles, will feature eight laps around a local circuit in Leuven, with four hills to climb on each lap.

Simmons’ older brother, Quinn Simmons, who rides professionally for Trek-Segafredo, also is in Belgium and will compete in the elite men’s world championship road race on Sunday. That race will be 166.71 miles long.

colivas@durangoherald.com