Durango’s Quinn Simmons returned to Europe and immediately proved once more than he is one of the top junior road cyclists in the world.
The 18-year-old showed it again at the opening stage of the SPIE International Juniors Three Days of Axel event in the Netherlands, a four-stage race with International Cycling Union (UCI) points up for grabs.
Friday’s first stage was a little more than 63 miles in the town of Axel in the southwest section of the Netherlands. Simmons finished the route in 2 hours, 40 minutes, 28 seconds. He edged Magnus Sheffield, also of the U.S., by six seconds. Simmons was 33 seconds in front of Pepijn Reinderink of the Netherlands.
Simmons claimed the yellow jersey as the race’s individual general classification leader for overall time.
“Hopefully, I can hang on to GC after tomorrow’s time trial,” Simmons said in a message to The Durango Herald.
Simmons also claimed the green points leader jersey by scoring the first 20 points as well as the red sprinters jersey by winning both sprint zones to take 10 points. Sheffield is second in the sprinting category with six points, as he took second in both sprint zones.
Sheffield has 11 points in the overall cobblestone rankings to wear the gray jersey. He won the first cobble section and finished second on two more. Simmons won two cobble sectors and sits second in the cobble rankings with 10 points. Simmons also ranks first in the combination blue jersey standings. There was no climbing zone in Friday’s stage, and that red polka dot jersey will mostly be up for grabs during Sunday’s final stage.
The third stage is nearly 51 miles in Sluiskil, and the fourth is 62 miles in Velzeke with the biggest climbing stage of the race.
“The Americans are coming,” Simmons said in a post to Instagram. “Good battle on Stage 1 of Axel ... Won the sprint, got some jerseys and now time to try and hang on in tomorrow’s TT.”