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Quinn Simmons tipped for Strade Bianche leadership after grinding with the greats in 2021

Flanders, Roubaix, Tour de France also possible for 2022 as Trek-Segafredo hails young American's increased responsibility and experience.

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Quinn Simmons was grinding with the world’s best at Strade Bianche last year, and Trek-Segafredo is pinning its hopes on him doing it again in 2022.

Simmons has been tipped for a lead role at next month’s sterrato classic as part of a season that will see him pushing for selection at the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and the Tour de France.

“We’re excited to see what Quinn can do now. We expect him to be up there again at Strade Bianche and hopefully the rest of this year. He could be really important for us in the spring especially,” team director Steven de Jongh told VeloNews.

“He will be our leader in Strade Bianche and then the rest of his calendar all depends on form. If he’s in good shape he’ll be a big part in Flanders and Roubaix, and he wants to qualify for the Tour.”

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Trek-Segafredo says it’s all thanks to the 20-year-old’s bigger engine and increasing maturity.

Simmons struggled to click into gear through his WorldTour induction, trialing new training and nutrition methods that didn’t bite. His 2020 season ended with a controversial internal suspension, but he rebounded with a breakthrough 2021.

Now, heading into this third pro season, the Coloradan is dialed in and knows what to do.

“Quinn has really grown up fast from the first year he was with us until now. He’s matured a lot. He takes a lot more responsibility for his own well-being,” de Jongh said in a recent call.

“In the past, sometimes when he was feeling good or training hard, he did too much. But now he can really express himself and I think this is good to see. He’s not shy to express when he’s tired and needs to rest, if something’s not working for him or whatsoever,” the Dutch DS continued. “I see this as a very positive development. He’s very different now than 2020 [when he turned pro with Trek-Segafredo].”

Building on a breakout 2021

Simmons made his grand tour debut at last year’s Vuelta.

Simmons will lead Trek-Segafredo’s newly bolstered classics crew at Strade next month looking for better luck than last year.

Simmons found his way into the star-studded lead group of the Italian classic last March, bumping shoulders with the likes of Wout van Aert, Mathieu van der Poel, Egan Bernal and Julian Alaphilippe before punctures popped him off the back and left him 54th in Siena’s Piazza.

It was a portent of a rollercoaster second season in the WorldTour.

Simmons’ early promise stuttered with a series of DNFs in his first senior ride through the cobblestone classics. Then a breakout GC win at the Tour de Wallonie in the summer and a punch onto the podium in his Vuelta a España debut saw him reverse his late-spring slump.

“Quinn had a surprisingly good year last year,” de Jongh said. “It was a surprise to us that he was that was so strong at Strade Bianche to be honest, because it was really the first time that he showed he could compete in a big race. Then after that, he showed more all year and won a couple of races. At the Vuelta he was really riding really strong for being so young.”

Heading into 2022, Trek-Segafredo is hoping the gains of Simmons’ first full senior season have bedded in through a solid winter in the ‘States.

“He’s just had a really good winter and in good shape,” de Jongh said. “I think he, and us, are excited to see what he will do.”

Simmons will make his season debut at the Faun-Ardèche Classic next weekend – and from there the sterrato, the pavé, and maybe the Grand Départ await.