World Championships: Simmons solos to victory in junior men's road race

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Quinn Simmons (USA) won the junior men's road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire, winning after a long-range solo effort out of a late attack group. After 33 kilometres out front on his own, Simmons crossed the line victorious in Harrogate, 56 seconds ahead of Alessio Martinelli (Italy) and 1:33 up on teammate Magnus Sheffield.

The American had been part of an elite five-man which formed on the rolling roads heading into the closing circuits of the race. He, along with teammate Magnus Sheffield, made it out front after the USA squad pushed the pace over the preceding hills.

Heading into the Harrogate circuit, and with the peloton gradually closing in on the leaders, Simmons struck out alone, powering away to a 50-second lead which would be barely dented on three laps of the finishing circuit.

Martinelli escaped the peloton in the final 20km, soloing to a silver medal, while the fight for bronze was more intense as a group of four would eventually emerge on the closing lap. Sheffield would eventually grab third, outsprinting Enzo Leijnse (Netherlands), Gianmarco Garofoli (Italy) and Vegard Stokke (Norway) at the line.

"I still don't really believe it, but I had my eyes set on this since November of last year, so it felt really good to make it happen," said Simmons after the finish.

"I wouldn't say I knew [that I'd become world champion] but I had a good feeling about this course, and I had a really strong team. First of all, I want to say a big thanks to all the guys -– they were on the front basically from kilometre zero, Magnus set it up perfectly and I just found out that he sprinted for third so it's a perfect day for America.

"[That was the plan] give or take. We never knew exactly when we were going to go but we knew it was going to be me or Magnus onto the circuit so then I launched from there, so it worked out maybe a little earlier than we planned but it seemed to work.

"I didn't have the legs I wanted in the time trial so came in extra motivated for this. I definitely had a point to prove and I think I did."

How it unfolded

There was aggressive racing from the off on the 148.1km course, which included three laps of the closing Harrogate circuit. After numerous attacks to kick off the race, a five-man break got away.

Garofoli, Alex Vandenbulcke (Belgium), Michel Hessmann (Germany), Sakarias Koller Løland (Norway), Max Walker (Great Britain) were the riders out front, working to get a gap and what looked to be the main break of the day ahead of the USA-led peloton.

As the rain teemed down and the riders tackled the hills of the rolling parcours, the break's advantage reached 1:30 after 35km of racing. By the time they reached the climb of Cray Hill (2.6km at 7.7 per cent), however, the move was already over as the reduced peloton dragged the group back.

Attacks kept flying from the regrouped peloton, with none sticking as the rain stopped falling, though the dark grey clouds lingered. 82km from the line there was a more decisive move, with Walker once again getting away and quickly building a 30-second gap.

Four kilometres later, there was a sad spectacle at the rear of the peloton as Colombian rider Germán Darío Gómez rolled his rear tyre, bursting into tears at the side of the road as rival team cars passed him by. The 18-year-old started to walk the course, bike and tyre in hand, before finally being serviced by a team car minutes later after a chase group came past.

It didn't take long after that for the rain to start falling again, leading to several crashes in the peloton, including several riders of the Kazakh national team.

With the rain and the climb of Hill End (5.7km at 3.4 per cent), came the end of Walker's spell out front. The USA, Spain and the Netherlands worked on the head of the peloton, with the Americans pushing the pace more than anyone.

Over further rises in the road ahead of the entry to the circuit, the USA went on the attack with Sheffield and Simmons. The pair brought the trio of Carlos Rodríguez (Spain), Lewis Askey (Great Britain) and Pavel Bittner (Czech Republic) with them as Italy organised a chase in the peloton.

The gap between the leading quintet and the chasers was 25 seconds as the two groups hit the finishing circuit for the first time. With 33km to go and with the peloton closing in, it was go-time for Simmons.

The 18-year-old, who has 12 wins to his name in 2019 – including Gent-Wevelgem –  powered away from the lead group to start a long solo effort. Further back, the peloton was fracturing on the tough circuit, and with two laps remaining he was 50 seconds up on the ever-reducing group.

The peloton was reduced even further in the horrible conditions as the riders passed into the final 20km. Martinelli emerged from the chase group with an attack, pushing on as the only rider able to put a dent into Simmons' lead.

As Simmons passed the finish line for the penultimate time, Martinelli had closed to within 35 seconds of the sole leader but wasn't making much headway past that. Attacks flew from the chasing peloton, with riders sensing that chances of a medal were slipping away with 11km to go.

Leijnse jumped away in pursuit of Simmons and Martinelli, but with an Italian on his wheel in the shape of Garofoli, he didn't get much cooperation in the chase. Up the road, Martinelli was fading, dropping to 50 seconds behind Simmons, while the chasing duo lay 1:20 back.

The closing kilometres gave Simmons, who was waving at the crowd two laps earlier, a chance to savour his victory, some distance ahead of Martinelli, who was safe in the silver medal position.

The action continued further back though, as Sheffield and Stokke attacked the peloton. With 3km to race, they made it a four-man shootout for bronze along with Leijnse and Garofoli.

Simmons celebrated with an American flag from the crowd as he crossed the line, and Martinelli followed almost a minute later. A tense final run-in for bronze resulted in Sheffield, who had shown his strength throughout the day, leading out, opening the sprint and then finishing off to cap a near-perfect day for the USA ahead of Leijnse.

Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Quinn Simmons (United States Of America) 3:38:04
2Alessio Martinelli (Italy) 0:00:56
3Magnus Sheffield (United States Of America) 0:01:33
4Enzo Leijnse (Netherlands)
5Gianmarco Garofoli (Italy)
6Vegard Stokke (Norway)
7Alfred George (Great Britain) 0:01:45
8Frederik Wandahl (Denmark)
9Jakub Bouček (Czech Republic)
10Milan Paulus (Belgium)
11Thibault D'Hervez (France)
12Michael Garrison (United States Of America)
13Antonio Tiberi (Italy)
14Marco Brenner (Germany)
15Leo Hayter (Great Britain)
16Alex Baudin (France)
17Matthew Riccitello (United States Of America) 0:01:48
18Georg Steinhauser (Germany) 0:01:54
19Pavel Bittner (Czech Republic) 0:02:20
20Ramses Debruyne (Belgium) 0:02:25
21Patrick Eddy (Australia) 0:02:53
22Lewis Askey (Great Britain) 0:04:39
23Juan Ayuso Pesquera (Spain) 0:04:55
24Carlos Rodriguez Cano (Spain) 0:07:02
25Robin Juel Skivild (Denmark) 0:07:40
26Kévin Vauquelin (France) 0:08:27
27Fredrik Gjesteland Finnesand (Norway) 0:08:43
28Samuel Watson (Great Britain) 0:08:45
29Hannes Wilksch (Germany)
30Max Walker (Great Britain) 0:09:18
31Sakarias Koller Løland (Norway)
32Drew Christensen (New Zealand)
33Henri Treimuth (Estonia) 0:10:15
34August Höglund (Sweden) 0:10:16
35Tord Gudmestad (Norway) 0:11:39
36Reuben Thompson (New Zealand) 0:12:21
37Thomas Silva (Uruguay)
38Lars Boven (Netherlands) 0:14:21
39Tomas Aguirre Garza (Mexico)
40Ricardo Peña Salas (Mexico) 0:14:25
41Elia Blum (Switzerland) 0:14:58
42Mats Wenzel (Luxembourg)
43Alex Vandenbulcke (Belgium) 0:16:24
44Hjalmar Klyver (Sweden) 0:16:49
45Renus Uhiriwe (Rwanda)
46Maksim Bilyi (Ukraine)
47Joshua Amos Gudnitz (Denmark)
48Vinicius Rangel Costa (Brazil)
49Igor Arrieta Lizarraga (Spain)
50Bruno Stoček (Czech Republic)
51Fran Miholjević (Croatia)
52Raphael Parisella (Canada)
53Andrii Ponomar (Ukraine)
54Emil Schandorff Iwersen (Denmark)
55João Carvalho (Portugal)
56Maximilian Kabas (Austria)
57Joonas Kurits (Estonia)
58Jago Willems (Belgium)
59Jakub Ťoupalík (Czech Republic)
60German Dario Gomez Becerra (Colombia)
61Lukas Carreau (Canada)
62Marek Bugár (Slovakia)
63Boštjan Murn (Slovenia)
64Aljaž Colnar (Slovenia)
65Gianni Lamperti (United States Of America) 0:16:58
66Johannes Staune-Mittet (Norway) 0:17:00
67Logan Currie (New Zealand)
68Tiano Da Silva (South Africa) 0:17:05
69Archie Ryan (Ireland) 0:17:17
70Michel Heßmann (Germany)
71Hidde Van Veenendaal (Netherlands)
72Loïc Bettendorff (Luxembourg) 0:25:08
DNFRiley Pickrell (Canada)
DNFIakov Gusev (Russian Federation)
DNFAlexandre Vinokurov (Kazakhstan)
DNFJacob Rubuliak (Canada)
DNFJean Eric Habimana (Rwanda)
DNFMathias Vacek (Czech Republic)
DNFAndrea Piccolo (Italy)
DNFCasper Van Uden (Netherlands)
DNFRaul Garcia Pierna (Spain)
DNFAri Scott (New Zealand)
DNFAxel Van Der Tuuk (Netherlands)
DNFSamuli Öhman (Finland)
DNFEdoardo Zambanini (Italy)
DNFŽYgimantas Norutis (Lithuania)
DNFEdvin Lovidius (Sweden)
DNFAndré Domingues (Portugal)
DNFMarek Gajdula (Slovakia)
DNFRotem Tene (Israel)
DNFYugi Tsuda (Japan)
DNFLuca Dreßler (Germany)
DNFJoé Michotte (Luxembourg)
DNFArtjom Mirzojev (Estonia)
DNFAxel Laurance (France)
DNFFabio Christen (Switzerland)
DNFKevin Mccambridge (Ireland)
DNFFinn Fisher-Black (New Zealand)
DNFHugo Toumire (France)
DNFWilliam Blume Levy (Denmark)
DNFVeeti Vainio (Finland)
DNFMaxim Popugayev (Kazakhstan)
DNFNicolas Vinokurov (Kazakhstan)
DNFTakumi Yamada (Japan)
DNFThak Kaeonoi (Thailand)
DNFPhurit Rodvilai (Thailand)
DNFTullatorn Sosalam (Thailand)
DNFMiguel Angel Hoyos Castro (Colombia)
DNFGal Glivar (Slovenia)
DNFMaksim Kulakov (Russian Federation)
DNFŽYgimantas Matuzevičius (Lithuania)
DNFRoberts Andersons (Latvia)
DNFPauls Rubenis (Latvia)
DNFNikolas Riegler (Austria)
DNFFelipe Benjamin Pizarro Mancilla (Chile)
DNFCristobal Ignacio Ramirez Vera (Chile)
DNFDamon Fouchee (South Africa)
DNFDominik Gorak (Poland)
DNFMilosz Osko (Poland)
DNFCarlo Jurisevic (Croatia)

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