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Simmons is one of a small crowd of home riders that are making the Stateside spectators’ long flight over the Atlantic worth paying for.
“It’s nice this is the one time of the year that our sport is relevant over in the U.S.,” Simmons told VeloNews of his racuous reception.
The Coloradan Tour rookie started his three weeks in France with a flourish.
A long day in the break with Wout van Aert on stage 6 and an aggressive ride in the superstar breakaway that r0de to Megève on Tuesday gave Trek-Segafredo plenty of screen time.
“We’re just here to hunt for stages, and with the caliber of Mads [Pedersen] and Jasper [Stuyven] they have some really good opportunities in the flatter days,” Simmons said. “Then when we have some more medium days in the mountains I’ll probably go for another opportunity.”
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After initially making his name as a classics specialist, Simmons converted himself to an all-terrain attack-machine in recent seasons as the 21-year-old stretches his still-growing potential.
“I just like racing. If I see an opportunity I try to take it, no matter the situation,” he said.
“Just to be here is a nice step, but every time you do a grand tour you learn a bit more and more. I’m just trying to grow as a rider and hopefully get a few more chances in the breakaway to play for the win.”
Simmons’ selection for the Tour alongside top riders like Mads Pedersen, Bauke Mollema, and Jasper Stuyven shows his growing stature in Trek-Segafredo.
After making Trek’s long-list last fall, Simmons climbed high at Tirreno-Adriatico and rubberstamped his ticket for the grand départ with a sizzling ride through Tour de Suisse last month.
“I knew I was on the list in October, but we knew everyone except three guys would have to fight for their spot. I was fairly confident but I had to make sure,” he said.
“Luckily I was confident enough in my selection that I didn’t have to be on a super top level for Suisse – I had to be strong, but a goal for me has always been the second and third week here. With the performance team we’ve managed that well, and now we just need everything to keep going well and have some good luck.”