Quinn Simmons: Van Aert and Pogacar have changed the Tour de France breakaway dynamic

Tour de France 2022 - 109th Edition - 6th stage
Binche - Longwy 220 km - 07/07/2022 - Wout Van Aert (BEL - Team Jumbo - Visma) - Quinn Simmons (USA - Trek - Segafredo) - photo Nico Vereecken/PN/SprintCyclingAgency©2022
Simmons in the break with Van Aert on stage 6 (Image credit: Sprint Cycling Agency)

In the middle of a Tour de France that hasn't exactly been kind to the breakaways so far, American debutant Quinn Simmons is still hopeful of opportunities to affect the race in the coming days following the rest day layover in Morzine.

Thus far, a break has only prevailed on two of the eight road stages as Simon Clarke took the win on a chaotic cobbled stage 5 and Bob Jungels soloed 60km to victory in Châtel on Sunday.

Elsewhere, six wins have been gobbled up by the super-teams of QuickStep-AlphaVinyl, UAE Team Emirates, and Jumbo-Visma, with race leader Tadej Pogačar and green jersey Wout van Aert taking two victories apiece.

Simmons told Cyclingnews on Sunday evening that he has a few stages on his target list but would have to judge what to do day-by-day, having had stage 8 to Lausanne among his targets after featuring in the breakaway two days earlier.

"Oh, there's a few coming but, you know, you have to see how the race is being raced," Simmons said. "A day like Lausanne it was something initially I'd written down and then you see with the sprint teams wanting control, you don't even try it at that point.

"If you have a rider like Wout or a rider like Pogačar who are almost guaranteed a win – I mean, why wouldn't you chase, right?" he added, responding to a question on the keenness of UAE and Jumbo to chase stages.

"I think those two being so dominant changes the dynamic a bit for us. It was the same in Tirreno-Adriatico – twice I was in the break that I thought should have gone and, in the end, they pulled for Pogačar because he for sure can win."

Tirreno saw the rise of Simmons as something of a climbing force. There, he grabbed the mountains jersey midway through before making the break on the queen stage up Monte Carpegna, dropping Julian Alaphilippe in the process.

He won the same jersey at last month's Tour de Suisse, coming close to a summit finish stage win in the process. So, what is Simmons' secret? And can he battle for a win in the mountains at the Tour?

"Well, I guess if I'm honest, when I first started as a professional, I was just a bit fat," he said with a laugh. "I've really focussed on losing a bit of weight with my coach. We work quite a bit on the climbing. It's nothing specific, but just trying to be strong.

"Obviously here everyone's at a higher level but I think on a day like today if I can be in the break with the right guys, you know you have a chance," he added. "But there's 100 other guys with the same idea as me. There are more chances coming.

"Today [stage 9] the objective was to make the breakaway, and I did not do that. But I mean for me a day like today is, you know, a bit of a stretch anyway so it's not too big of a disappointment."

Simmons, who made his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a España last season, said that he can see improvement in his own climbing, even if he wasn't at the front of the race in the Alps on Sunday.

"I was thinking the whole day, comparing to the Vuelta last year on the mountain days I'd be – not by choice – in the first gruppetto, dropped, and then spend the whole day chasing and suffering," he said. 

"Today, I was able to just place myself in a good group and save as much for the next week. So at least it's a step forward."

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Daniel Ostanek
Senior news writer

Daniel Ostanek is Senior News Writer at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired full-time. Prior to joining the team, he had written for numerous major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.


As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also oversees The Leadout newsletter and How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal.