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Vuelta a Espana

Quinn Simmons: ‘This Vuelta is great training for the worlds and Roubaix’

American rider playing supporting role in grand tour debut with an eye on goals later this season and beyond.

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Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) is easing into his grand tour debut with an eye on the future.

The 20-year-old is four stages into his first Vuelta a España, and he’s already looking to the future. The Coloradan hopes to finish the Vuelta on September 5 and use it as a trampoline for the upcoming world championships, Paris-Roubaix, and beyond.

“I think [the Vuelta] is really good, especially looking at the end of this year with the worlds and Roubaix, it’s great training for that,” Simmons said at Wednesday’s start. “And just for my development as a rider going into the classics next year.”

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Simmons is part of a Trek-Segafredo squad with diverse ambitions. It brings Giulio Ciccone as a protected GC rider, and so far, the 26-year-old Italian is riding well, starting Wednesday’s fifth stage safely within the top-10.

The team is also hunting stages, and Kenny Elissonde rode into the winning breakaway in Monday’s summit finale at Picón Blanco on stage 3, finishing third behind Rein Taaramaë and Joe Dombrowski. Elissonde also climbed into second overall on GC.

“It’s been a good start for us, we already had a good chance to win, and ‘Cicco’ showed he can climb with the best guys,” Simmons said. “As we get to the hillier days, it will be really good for us.”

Also read: Simmons among grand tour debutants at Vuelta

Simmons is hot off his first pro victories, winning a stage and the overall at the Tour de Wallonie in Belgium last month. The wins are an important milestone for Simmons, whose rookie season was marked by a social media controversy.

Simmons is staying focused on racing, and recently signed a contract extension to stay with Trek-Segafredo for two more seasons.

So far in the Vuelta, Simmons raced on a road bike in the opening time trial in a bid to win the King of the Mountains prize in the opening 2.5km of Saturday’s stage in Burgos, an honor that went to compatriot Sepp Kuss.

After that, he’s been easing into the pace of a grand tour and has been helping to shuttle up water bottles and protect Ciccone on the flats.

A junior world road champion in 2019, Simmons will return to the world championships for his first start in the elite men’s field in Belgium next month. He’s also slated to race the rescheduled Paris-Roubaix in October.

“It’s good so far,” Simmons said of the Vuelta debut. “I’m just getting into it and we’re only on the fifth stage, so I will see how I feel later. We are trying to take best care of ‘Cicco,’ and when we get on the hillier stages, helpfully we can go for a stage again.”