Quinn Simmons had never entered a professional road cycling event in 2018. Thursday, he ended his debut season at the world championships.
Simmons, an 18-year-old from Durango, was named to the USA Cycling roster for the 2018 International Cycling Union (UCI) Road World Championships in Austria. In late July, Simmons won the junior men’s road race national championship in Maryland only a week after he swept the junior men’s cross-country and short-track mountain bike national titles.
The road race national title earned Simmons a spot on the USA team at the UCI world championships. Simmons was allowed to attack early during the 82-mile race Thursday, but he wasn’t able to get away from the peloton. In the end, his job was to help protect his U.S. teammates. Simmons did not finish the race. Belgium’s Remco Evenpoel won in 3 hours, 3 minutes, 49 seconds, as he rode solo for the final 12 miles to the finish line. He was 1:25 ahead of Germany’s Marius Mayrhofer and 1:38 in front of third-place Alessandro Fancellu of Italy.
Kevin Vermaerke, a Lux Cycling teammate of Simmons who lives in California, was the top-American finisher. He was eighth, 3:20 back of Evenpoel. Sean Quinn, also of Lux Cycling and California, was 10th, 3:25 behind.
“I was allowed to go early but nothing stuck, so it was my job to get the guys to the climb safe,” Simmons said. “The course was the hardest climbing race there has ever been for juniors. I am happy to get the experience in so I can go for a result next year.”
Simmons, who along with cycling and mountain biking is an avid ski mountaineering athlete, said he will forgo an attempt to qualify for this year’s ski-mo world championships so he can focus on training for next year’s spring classic races in Europe.
After Simmons signed with Lux as a means to cross-train for mountain bike season, he quickly took to the road bike. In his first-ever stage race, the Valley of the Sun in Phoenix, he earned a win in the juniors field to earn a spot on the USA Cycling national team. He went on to finish third in a pair of big races in Belgium, including Gent-Wevelgem, and then was third at Paris-Roubaix’s juniors race. The national championship helped solidify Simmons’ goal to continue to pursue further success on the road bike.