Quinn Simmons rode solo to victory in a breathless junior men’s road race at the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships after a dominant performance by the US team.
Simmons benefitted from a relentless performance by his team-mate USA Magnus Sheffield early in the race, finally launching his lone attack 30km from the finish on the Harrogate finishing circuit.
The 18-year-old had been part of a strong five-rider break that entered the finishing circuit with a strong advantage over the peloton.
Simmons then attacked alone and rode solo to the line to claim gold, as Italian Alessio Martinelli accelerated away from the bunch and rode to a worthy second place.
Sheffield, after a stand-out performance in support of Simmons, was embroiled in a tough battle for the last podium spot, narrowly taking a four-up sprint to claim the bronze medal for the US to go alongside the gold.
The British squad put in a respectable team ride, with Max Walker attacking the race and Lewis Askey making it into the race-winning breakaway, but Alfred George came in as the best finisher for the home team in seventh place.
How it happened
The road racing at the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships kicked off on Thursday (September 26) with the junior men, over a 148.1km course from Richmond to Harrogate.
There were three major climbs along the route, at Barden Moor (2km at 4.5 per) almost immediately, then at 44km came Cray Hill (2.6km and 7.7 per cent), and finally Hill End (5.7km at 3.4 per cent) which came at 86km, before the peloton entered the Harrogate finishing circuit for three laps.
Frantic racing defined the opening stages of the race, with GB, the USA and the Kiwi teams all acting as protagonists.
Magnus Sheffield (USA) was the biggest animator, repeatedly attacking the field and setting the pace, which helped force a significant split in the peloton.
The British squad were well represented inside 100km, as were the US team and the Germans.
Max Walker (GBr) launched a solo attack a long way from home, with around 80km to race, and he was allowed to go clear and picked up an advantage of around one minute, as the US were made to chase.
Walker was caught and the Americans fired a dangerous attack, with their riders Sheffield and Quinn Simmons forming a break alongside Lewis Askey (Gbr), Carlos Rodriguez (Esp) and Pavel Bittner (Cze).
As the breakaway crossed the finish line for the first time with 41km left to race, they held a 36-second advantage over the reduced peloton.
Having missed out on the move, the Dutch, Germans and Italians were the most dedicated chasers in the bunch, as the rain poured down on Harrogate.
Simmons then launched an attack on the Oak Beck climb with 33km to race, as the peloton came within 10 seconds of the bunch, the American leaving his breakaway companions behind.
The remains of the break collapsed and were quickly swept up by the peloton, as Simmons pulled his advantage out to 25 seconds, benefitting from being able to choose his line on a treacherous and technical circuit in the wet.
With 20km left to race, Simmons held almost a minute over the peloton, but Italian Alessio Martinelli launched a thunderous attack in pursuit of the leader.
Into the final 10km and Simmons still had 45 seconds over Martinelli, with the peloton 1-21 down on the leader.
A race for bronze was heating up behind with 2km left for Simmons, with Magnus Sheffield fighting with Gianmarco Garofoli (Ita), Vergard Stokke (Nor) and Enzo Leijnse (Ned).
Simmons came round the final corner and onto the finishing straight with plenty of time in hand, celebrating with an American flag draped around his shoulders as he crossed the line and took gold.
Martinelli held on to take silver 56 seconds later, while Sheffield sprinted hard to beat four other riders to the bronze medal, 1-33 after his compatriot finished.
Despite the valiant efforts of the GB squad, Alfred George led the peloton in to take seventh.
UCI Road World Championships 2019, junior men’s road race: Richmond to Harrogate (148.1km)
1. Quinn Simmons (USA), in 3-38-04
2. Alessio Martinella (Ita), at 56s
3. Magnus Sheffield (USA), at 1-33
4. Enzo Leijnse (Ned)
5. Gianmarco Garofoli (Ita)
6. Vegard Stokke (Nor), all at same time
7. Alfred George (GBr), at 1-45
8. Frederik Wandahl (Den)
9. Jakub Boucek (Cze)
10. Milan Paulus (Bel), all at same time