Simmons sprints to podium in second stage Tour of Slovakia
Colby Simmons has finished third in the second stage of the Tour of Slovakia on Thursday. The leader of the young rider classification came close to his first professional victory but ultimately had to concede to Tim Merlier and Cees Bol.
"Colby had a chance today, and he took it. We are happy with his third place”, sports director Robert Wagner said. "The plan today was to be in the bunch sprint. Colby is not a pure sprinter, but he can always position himself well in tricky finals. Ultimately, he just missed out and finished behind Merlier and Bol, two great names to share the podium with.”
“The team did a great job”, Simmons said. “We caught the five attackers in time, and we were in a good position. Jesse Kramer brought me to the front in the final. It was a great day for me.”
The rest of the day was not much fun. From the start in Prešov, the riders had to deal with heavy rain showers. "Especially at the beginning of the race, there were a lot of puddles on the roads. Together with Soudal-Quick Step we took control of the peloton. Our riders supported each other well today. The cooperation within the team was perfect”, Wagner said.
"It is a privilege to ride with the team here, I am learning a lot from the pros."
Simmons, happy with his opportunity in Slovakia, agreed with the sports director's words. "It is a privilege to ride with the team here. I am learning a lot from the pros, and I am gaining great experience. At the moment, I am the leader of the young rider classification. It would be nice to win the white jersey. There could be two more stages for the sprinters at the end of the week. Hopefully, I can play an important role there as well.”
Tomorrow, immediately after the start in Ružomberok, the riders can collect points for the mountains classification. After two days, Milan Vader is still wearing the polka-dot jersey. If Wagner and his men have their way, the jersey will stay in the team's possession longer. "Tomorrow would be an excellent day for Milan to extend his lead with the many climbs ahead. But Koen Bouwman also has some points. The mountains classification is a target for us this week.”
Pictures: Jan Melicher