Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) entered the 2023 Strade Bianche as a major contender, following an impressive 2022 and 2021 performance, but despite an excellent strategy from Trek-Segafredo found himself dropped from the chase group inside the final 10km.
“When you have the guys ride for you all day, and then you’ve thought about it for about three years,” Simmons told Cyclingnews, speaking despondently about his race. “I thought about this race almost every day and I missed it again.”
Simmons had made Strade Bianche a clear target for his early season, driving to Tuscany from the Faun-Ardèche Classic and the Faun Drôme Classic races last weekend to get extra training done on the white gravel roads.
He even previously told Cyclingnews that he had skipped local wine and pasta dishes with his visiting father to ensure he was in the best shape for the race.
In a sense it paid off, as he found himself in a formidable chase group just behind Tom Pidcock’s solo attack, containing Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma), Rui Costa (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates) and Attila Valter (Jumbo-Visma).
“It was working and then attacking,” Simmons said, echoing Mohoric’s claims after the race that the chase lacked cohesion. “And, you know, three teams had two riders,” he said, describing the composition of the initial larger chase group. “I was alone, so I have to gamble a bit and close maybe a bit more than I should have.”
Having shown form in 2022, and enjoyed a solid start to 2023 – accompanying Remco Evenepoel in a break at La Vuelta a San Juan – Simmons found himself a marked man in the peloton throughout the day.
“You saw how the guys kept me covered all day,” he said. “In the end, I could feel in the steep steep climbs that I just didn’t have it. And I chased back a few times. And the final time, I couldn’t make it back.”
This year’s race marks the third time that the Trek-Segafredo rider has found himself in the selection at Strade Bianche, but also the third year where he’s lacked the power of the winning group.
“Three years in a row I’ve been dropped from the front. It’s a good way to look at it,” he told Cyclingnews. “But at least we’re there and at least you know. The team had a plan and we committed to it and you know, everyone was perfect.
“You know, at the end of the day. I don’t have an excuse. I just wasn’t good enough.”
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