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Quinn Simmons has multi-continental, multi-terrain goals lined up for 2022.
Unbound Gravel, the Tour de France, Leadville 100, and SBT GRVL all feature on Simmons’ bucket list for next year as the WorldTour pro looks to keep one toe in the dirt.
“I’ll do Unbound again next year if I can confirm it with the team. In my mind, I’m going back. I would like to win that race,” Simmons told VeloNews.
“And if everything goes well and I have a good spring and end up riding the Tour, that opens up being able to do Leadville and Steamboat afterward.”
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Simmons had started this year’s Unbound as the rider that both gravel specialists and road pros were tipping for victory. His race came to a premature end with a crash in the opening hours of action.
After being denied his opportunity this year, the Trek-Segafredo racer is keener than ever to win what has come to be seen as “the Superbowl of gravel.”
“Crashing last year for sure adds motivation for Unbound, especially with the way my legs were feeling and I could sense the race going,” Simmons said on a call last week. “I was really on a good day, I really liked the course. It was gonna be a fun one, but you know sometimes things don’t work out, you just gotta come do it again.”
The 200-mile trek through the flint hills will mark just the start of a stacked summer for the 20-year-old Simmons.
Simmons is currently making his grand tour debut at the Vuelta a España and is hoping to level up next year with his first-ever start at the Tour de France. Just weeks after the Tour wraps up in Paris, the Coloradan is planning to be back on home soil for the LeadBoat Challenge doubleheader.
“My ideal situation would be to do Unbound, come over for the Tour, and then head back and be able to do Leadville and Steamboat – they’re the three I want to do,” he said.
Simmons’ ambitious all-terrain targets are dependent on him getting the green light from Trek-Segafredo, who recently renewed his contract through 2023. A trip to the U.S. for Unbound in early June would see him miss the period of pre-Tour stage0racing that many use to fine-tune their form for France.
However, Simmons sees little difference in training and competing on the pavement or on the stoney stuff.
“I think people overhype the difference between gravel racing and road,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s who can suffer the longest and especially a race like that where it’s 10 hours where you’re pretty much running as hard as you can for 10 hours. If you have a big engine, you have a big engine. Obviously, there’s the risk of crashing or whatever but there’s also the risk of crashing at a road race.”
Past and present road pros Ian Boswell and Alex Howes won Leadville and SBT GRVL this year, and the likes of Lachlan Morton, Peter Stetina, and Ted King were all key players in this year’s marquee off-road races.
After placing second at Leadville 2019 at the age of just 18-years-old, Simmons may provide a new name for Boswell and co. to grapple with next year.