Not even Quinn Simmons expected to land on the podium of his first big road cycling race in Europe.
The 17-year-old from Durango stunned the masses Sunday when he finished third at the Gent-Wevelgem junior men’s race in Belgium. It was the first stop of the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) Junior Nations’ Cup. Simmons competed for the Lux Cycling Development Team.
Italy’s Samuele Manfredi won the race over the cobble stones in 2 hours, 50 minutes, 40 seconds. Norway’s Søren Wærenskjold was second in the same time, and Simmons was third, two seconds back of Manfredi.
“My first cobble classic – can’t say I expected this one,” Simmons said in a post to Instagram.
Earlier this year, in his first road race with Lux Cycling, Simmons won the Valley of the Sun stage race in Phoenix to earn a spot on the USA Cycling national team.
Simmons, the junior cross-country mountain bike national champion, is in his first season racing road bikes and has turned heads with his explosive start in the discipline. Next, he will compete at the Paris-Roubaix Juniors race April 8 in France. He will then return home to start the mountain bike season in California.
Durango’s Christopher Blevins hopped on his road bike for a three-stage race this weekend, the San Dimas Stage Race in California.
The 20-year-old is the USA Cycling under-23 cross-country mountain bike and cyclocross national champion, and he’s proven to be a force on a road bike with the Hagens Berman Axeon road team, too.
Blevins finished second in the general classification standings for pro men under 25. His teammate Thomas Revard won the category with a total time of 5 hours, 11 minutes, 20 seconds. Blevins was 13 seconds behind. Sam Boardman of Marc Pro Cycling was third, and Keegan Swirbul, the 2015 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic champion, was fourth for the Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis team, 37 seconds behind Revard.
Blevins finished fourth overall among all pro men riders. Cory Lockwood of Project Echelon Racing was first in 5:11:18. Blevins was 15 seconds off that time.
Blevins finished seventh in Sunday’s criterium race. He won Saturday’s road race in 3:31:16, as he edged Swirbul for the win by two seconds.
In the Stage 1 time trial, Blevins was third in 15:11, 18 seconds behind the winning time of Jordan Cheyne.