Simmons: I’m still trying to figure out what I can and can’t do
Quinn Simmons tried time and time again for a stage victory in her first Tour de France, with the American making the breakaway for the fifth time on stage 19 to Cahors. However, once again, he was refused but was able to console himself with a podium and a fighting spirit award on Friday.
The 21-year-old American is the youngest rider in the 2022 Tour de France and covered around 600 km in breakaways during the Tour, through the stages of Longwy, Megève, Saint-Etienne, Mende and Cahors.
Speaking after Stage 19, Simmons said it was an “up and down” Tour, not quite getting the win he wanted but being part of it. a successful run for his Trek-Segafredo team, helping Mads Pedersen to a breakaway victory in Saint-Etienne.
“I think it went well, especially being there when Mads won his stage; that was a really good highlight,” Simmons said. “It was ups and downs. Of course, the first week wasn’t quite what I wanted. The Roubaix day in particular was a low point for me.
“I hope to the team that I have proven a point that they have made a good selection by bringing me, and I hope to be back next year.”
His turn on Stage 19 saw Simmons survive as the last man standing from the original hectic day break, where he was joined by Nils Politt, Matej Mohorič, Taco van der Hoorn and Mikkel Honoré. The move was kept on a leash by the peloton and never seemed to succeed as their advantage never increased beyond a minute.
Simmons held on to the top of the day’s final climb – the penultimate ranked climb of the Tour – before being brought back 35km from the finish. He later said that feeling as good as he did in the last week of his first Tour was a good sign.
“The legs are still good, so I think week three is a good sign,” he said. “Obviously I missed the best result on a stage a bit in those three weeks, but for next year and the years to come, it’s a boost of confidence.
“With the way the wind was, we thought there was a chance maybe at first it would get crazy, and a big group would go, so I just wanted to hit the road. That was pretty obvious at the beginning that it was not going well. If you are in the lead of the Tour, you have to take advantage of it a little.”
This season, Simmons has shown he can perform well on the climbs – see his Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour de Suisse KOM jerseys – in addition to his strengths on the flat and in the hills.
When it comes to being a runner who can perform on all kinds of terrain, Simmons said he’s always looking at how far he can go – understandable for a runner still in the middle of his second year as a professional. .
“I wouldn’t say I surprised myself here, already knowing what I can do and with the Vuelta already in my legs,” he said. “But you take a big step every time you finish a Grand Tour when you’re young. I think all the tough days and the work here only pay off next year.
“I always try to figure out what I can and can’t do. Some climbing days I push a bit just to see where I can be. I try to do a good job on the rides and do a little of everything because I really don’t know where the limit is.
“It’s hard to be too proud to be the youngest rider because at my age Pogačar has already won it,” he added, referring to his status as the youngest man on the Tour. “But for me it’s fine. Two to three years to see how I will be – hopefully it will be better.”