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World Championships 2019: Young American goes long for solo win in junior men's road race

Joseph Delves
26 Sep 2019

Quinn Simmons went long and never looked like surrendering his advantage on the way to winning the junior men's road race. Photo:

Quinn Simmons (USA) won the junior men's road race at the World Championships. The young American won out in adverse conditions that saw many riders hitting the tarmac.

With Italy’s Alessio Martinelli in second and another American, Magnus Sheffield, in third, it was riders from these two nations that animated the race.

Having failed to medal in the earlier time trial where he was widely fancied, the win will come as a relief for 18-year-old Simmons. It occurred after a frenetic day that saw both the neutral service and doctors’ cars doing brisk business.

Covering 148km from Richmond to Harrogate, the riders, aged between 17 and 19, faced intermittent rain and wet roads. With 2,171 metres of climbing, the majority of this came before the riders hit the first of three circuits around Harrogate.

However, with British rider Max Walker hanging out front as the lone remainder of an early break and the full strength of the American and Dutch teams chasing after him, multiple crashes put many riders out of contention long before they got there.

With Walker finally caught around 60km from the finish, the race reached its final phase. As soon as the catch was made, the two Americans - Simmons and Sheffield - shot off, with Brit Lewis Askey, Spaniard Carlos Cano Rodriguez and Pavel Bittner from the Czech Republic coming along for company.

Now with only around 30 riders left behind them, it took a while before Italy and Germany got it together to take up the chase. Mixed in among them, the remaining British riders were doing a great job of policing the bunch, and subtly disrupting the chase.

Despite their efforts, the following riders eventually found themselves within closing distance of the break. It was then that Simmons decided to head off for the second time.

As the rain started hammering, the exhausted chasers seemed disinclined to continue on after him, leaving Simmons free to quickly build a 30-second advantage.

Coming into the last 20km, and with Simmons’s advantage holding, the Brits appeared among the few nations still hunting the win. However, it was Italian Martinelli that eventually got away.

By the last circuit, Simmons’s 50 seconds of advantage looked good enough for the win.

Following after, Martinelli was also looking increasingly secure in second, with countryman Gianmarco Garofoli and a Dutch rider jumping ahead in an effort to contest the bronze between them.

As both the sun and the finish line came into view, Simmons was left plenty of time to take in his win. Behind him, Martinelli was similarly unharassed. That just left the bronze to be contested, with Sheffield adding a well deserved second medal for the Americans from a four-up sprint.

Of the British riders who'd worked well all day, Leo Hayter was the best-placed, coming in 15th.