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The U.S. Tour rookie was fined 500 Swiss francs for riding just off the edge of the roadway in Sunday’s stage. Speaking to VeloNews at the start of Tuesday’s fourth stage, Simmons explained what happened.
“It was a bit of excessive of a fine,” Simmons said. “If they did that every day every single rider in the peloton would be fined. There wouldn’t be a rider left in the peloton, especially in a stage like today.”
Overhead helicopters spotted Simmons jostling for position during Sunday’s third stage in Denmark, and the Trek-Segafredo rider was bounced off the side of the road. He rode along the side of the roadway to move up a few positions, something that caught the jury’s eye.
“You get pushed and it’s such a big fight. When the road is blocked and when you have to get to the front, you do what you have to do,” Simmons said. “In a move like that, they talk about the danger, but a move like for any rider in the peloton is not dangerous. You’re six inches on or off the road. It is not dangerous.
“I saw the video from the helicopter and if you watch the Roubaix day tomorrow I guarantee you that every rider in the peloton does something worse. I just got unlucky and I was caught on the camera,” he said. “If they’re fair it will be a very long fine sheet tomorrow.”
Big start but no yellow jersey dreams
Simmons is enjoying a solid start to his first Tour.
Riding on home roads with teammate and former world champion Mads Pedersen made the opening days in Copenhagen even more special for the Coloradan.
“It’s been nice with the crowds in Denmark we were hoping for a bit more for Mads to try to put him in the jersey at home, but we have another chance today, and tomorrow we’ll be going full gas on the cobbles,” Simmons said Tuesday.
“First we have to get through today. With Mads we don’t have a pure sprinter like Groenewegen, but we have someone who can beat him in the right situation.”
Huge crowds made an impression on Simmons, who turned pro in 2020 just when the world pandemic was taking root.
“For me it’s great with the public,” he said. “I’ve not have had much any racing without COVID. Almost my whole whole career has been during the pandemic. The team is really enjoying it and a really nice experience in Denmark.”
Simmons is bracing for the cobbles stage Wednesday, and relishing a chance to race on the famed pavé for the first time as a WorldTour pro.
“My first year Roubaix was canceled, and the one time I made it to Roubaix, I crashed out before we made it to the first sector,” he said. “The only time I’ve race on the cobbles proper as a junior.”
Simmons, 20, punched his Tour ticket in June when it was confirmed during the Tour de Suisse that he would be heading to Copenhagen.
“I knew already in October that would be on the Tour list,” he said. “The final decision was made while I was at Suisse. In my head I was always going, I prepared like I was going, but you’re a bit nervous until you get the yes. It was s nice moment.”
Simmons has been hyped as America’s first Paris-Roubaix winner, but he’s actually been proving his worth in the climbs. He won the King of the Mountains jersey at the Tour de Suisse and shined during Tirreno-Adriatico as well.
“My first the goal is to be best rider I can for the team in the first week,” he said. “When you look at some of the medium mountains days that’s would be where my ambitions lie maybe in a break, but first we have to get through this week.”
“My body’s changed a bit in the last three years,” Simmons said. “I still don’t know what I will be good at, so I try to be good a bit of everything. I can do the leadout in the sprints and hopefully some good work on the cobbles. For me on some of the smaller climbs I can have my chance.”
And does Simmons harbor Tour de France yellow jersey dreams?
“Never in a grand tour,” he stated flatly. “I’ve talked to my coaches a bit and maybe a few years down the road I can try for a one week stage races. The Tour’s a bit much for me.”