Quinn Simmons of the USA launches a solo attack with 33km to go to claim victory in the Junior Men’s Road Race, ahead of Alessio Martinelli of Italy, with Magnus Sheffield, also from USA, securing third spot on the podium.
The race was fraught with crashes from an early stage which would result in the field splitting to such an extent that riders were able to escape off the front hidden in plain sight.
The break of the day saw five riders clip off the front, including the eventual winner and third place riders (Simmons and Sheffield respectively), with GB’s Lewis Askey an integral part of the move. The group of five worked well together and it looked like it could have been the winning break until Germany, and then Italy started working together, eventually bringing the gap down to 10 seconds.
Simmons kept his head and launched a solo attack, which would prove to be decisive. His time trialling ability no doubt helped him to grow the gap although his teammates did a phenomenal job of controlling the front of the bunch. Indeed, the live commentary compared them to a senior pro team.
Alessio Martinelli escaped off the front with a couple of laps to go, but was unable to catch Simmons, whom by now had the bit between his teeth. An attempt to reel Martinelli back would eventually lead to a group of four riders who would fight for the bronze medal, with Sheffield proving to be the strongest in the sprint.
The riders showed composure beyond their years, especially Simmons and Martinelli, both of whom move up to senior ranks in 2020.
It was always the plan to try and win solo and my training’s been aimed at that. Everything went perfectly today. The roads here are rolling and heavy, and that was a long distance for a junior race. Add the rain into that mix and it wore a lot of people down – which worked to our advantage. When the course was revealed I knew it’d suit me and it’s been my goal ever since. To win solo with a flag passed to me by my family is probably the coolest experience I’ll ever have in my life. The support here was crazy as well – the largest crowd I’ve ever experienced in a junior race. I loved it all and I’d definitely like to come back to Yorkshire in the future.
It was a tough route – up and down all day – and made even tougher by the wet conditions. I ride these roads all the time and I never knew you could actually ride them that quickly. Being local, there was quite a lot of pressure on me but I’m able to deal with that quite well. This whole Championships has been an amazing experience and even though I didn’t come away with the result I wanted, the crowds were absolutely fantastic and they definitely kept me going.
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Fred is Chair of Road Work Group for British North West Region.