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Quinn Simmons dashes to first pro win in Belgium

With his first pro victory, Quinn Simmons also takes the overall lead in the five-stage race at Tour de Wallonie.

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Quinn Simmons blasted to his first pro victory Thursday at the Tour de Wallonie in a hilly, 170km stage from Plombières to Érezée.

The 20-year-old on Trek-Segafredo pounded his chest as he won ahead of Stefan Dewulf (Ag2r-Citroën), with Alexis Renard (Israel Start-Up Nation) crossing the line third.

“It’s my first pro victory, and first sure the first pro win is a big one,” said Simmons. “It’s been a year and a half now as a pro, and to finally make it happen is a big relief. It took a while, and I was starting to lose faith in myself. But you saw how the guys rode today – it was perfect. Everyone did his job pulling hard from the beginning, and Juanpe [Lopez] was super strong in the finale. It’s been quite a while since I played a finale; the last time I won a race was the World’s in Yorkshire two years ago. It’s nice to get the emotion back.”

The victory puts the American rider from Durango, Colorado, into the leader’s jersey of the five-stage race across Belgium.

The third stage was modified before the start due to flooding in the region of the originally planned start in Plombières. The modified start was in Signal de Botrange, which boats the highest elevation in Belgium.

The race traversed four small climbs and finished on two final circuits which included the Côte de Cielle and the Côte de Beffe.

The remains of several breakaways were brought back with the final rider being absorbed by the bunch at 30km to go, in the hilly Ardennes.

In the final dash for the line, Simmons bested Dewulf by just one second — the two having cleared the group some 3km to go — with Renard 13 seconds adrift.

“When it’s a sprint after this many climbs, I am pretty confident,” said Simmons. “When it’s on the flats, I don’t stand a chance, but this is more my kind of sprint, so once the two of us were there, I knew it was game over. It’s never easy to win, but with the way the team rode and set it up for me to do my job was really straightforward. Thanks to the team, it was as easy as it could come.”

Simmons assumes the overall race lead, and the lead of the white jersey competition, by three seconds ahead of Dewulf.

The young American on the Trek-Segafredo squad now also leads the sprint classification, previously lead by Dylan Groenewegen.

2021 Tour de Wallonie Stage 3

  1. Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), 4:07:19
  2. Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citroën), at :01
  3. Alexis Renard (Israel Start-Up Nation), at :13

2021 Tour de Wallonie General Classification after Stage 3

  1. Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), 11:03:27
  2. Stan Dewulf (AG2R-Citroën), at :03
  3. Alexis Renard (Israel Start-Up Nation), at :19