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Tour de France

Quinn Simmons on Tour de France debut: ‘We can fight for stage wins’

Trek-Segafredo brings stacked squad for the first week, and Simmons hopes to have some chances in the second half of the Tour.

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COPENHAGEN (VN) — Quinn Simmons punches his Tour de France ticket with ambitions of winning a stage.

The American joins a mixed squad at Trek-Segafredo full of stage hunters, and Simmons hopes to see his chances in the back end of the race.

“The first week would be a good success if I could do a good support role for the guys in these classics-type stages, and if I can make it into the second or third week, I can try for a breakaway,” Simmons said. “There are some medium mountain days that look harder, so if we make it into the break, we can fight for the win.”

Simmons overcame illness earlier this season that derailed his spring classics campaign to ride through the Tour de Suisse with a flourish.

Simmons rode into several breakaways there and won the King of the Mountains jersey, and finished fourth in a big breakaway stage across the Swiss Alps.

“My approach was a bit different, but with a long altitude camp and Suisse as a preparation race, we’ve done everything we can to be ready,” Simmons said. “I’ve timed my fitness a bit better than I normally do, but you don’t know until the race is actually going.”

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The Tour will be Simmons’ second grand tour, coming after his debut at last year’s Vuelta a España. He made it to Madrid and was third in a stage in a long breakaway late in the race.

“I’ve only done a grand tour once, but I also know that in training I get stronger the more tired I get, so I hope that’s the case here,” Simmons said.

Simmons is among seven U.S. riders racing in this year’s Tour. After growing up watching the Tour, he was impressed with what he saw in the team presentation Wednesday at Tivoli Gardens.

“It’s really nice, especially for me because my whole pro career has been during coronavirus, so I really haven’t experienced anything like that yet with crowds,” Simmons said. “As an American, our sport doesn’t really matter until the Tour, so it’s nice for people back home to get to see what we are doing a bit more.”

Trek-Segafredo brings a stacked squad for the first week, with Jasper Stuyven and Mads Pedersen hoping for successes in the tricky stages across Denmark and northern France.

Simmons is ready to help out where he can.

“I missed Roubaix once for coronavirus, and the second time I made it 90km and crashed out, and this last time with my own sickness,” Simmons said. “It just would be nice to get a stage in across the cobbles, and support these two. I’ve never ridden on the cobbles in a professional race, so I am looking forward to that.”

Trek-Segafredo teammate Jasper Stuyven is also braced for the stage 5 rumble across the pavé.

“The desire is really big. The last time we did the Roubaix stage in the Tour and we won it as a team, and I was on a good day,” Stuyven said. “It’s a nice stage that I hope the weather and the race develops in my favor that day. The first sectors are not the hardest, but the those we know from Paris-Roubaix.”

Trek-Segafredo brings a fleet of stage hunters to the Tour. (Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)