Trek-Segafredo’s young hopefuls shine in Hungary and Italy

Quinn Simmons finishes second overall in the Tour of Hungary and Nicola Conci takes a close third in stage two at the Copi e Bartali.

While the Tour de France may be claiming the biggest attention in the cycling world, Trek-Segafredo quietly notched results from two young hopefuls in the Tour of Hungary and Coppi e Bartali Wednesday.

Quinn Simmons, in his first pro season, and Nicola Conci, in his third, claimed their first podiums with Trek-Segfraedo, two performances that will certainly help their growth as well as the future of the team as it continues its focus on developing young talents.

Tour of Hungary: Simmons seizes second overall

With a sizzling climbing performance, Quinn Simmons took a strong second place in the Queen Stage of the Tour of Hungary, and secured the second place in the overall classification of the five-day stage race.

The Junior World Champion, riding his first season as a neo-pro, started the 187.8km final stage in 12th place in the GC standings, despite having worked hard for his sprinter teammates in the previous days.

The hard parcours from Miskolc to Gyöngyös-Kékestető started off with a category-one climb and included another category-two climb before the final ascent.

Seven riders forged ahead early on but at the halfway mark only Roland Thalmann (Team Vorarlberg Santic) remained in front and rode the better part of the stage as the solo leader. Near the summit of the second categorized climb four riders bridged across to Thalmann, including Trek-Segafredo’s Will Clarke and Ryan Mullen.

The newly-formed late breakaway carved a gap of around 40 seconds before being reeled in by the Mitchelton–Scott led peloton.

By the time the race approached the lower slopes of the final climb, a 12.8km ascent of 5.5% average gradient, the fast pace started to dwindle down the peloton.

photo: ©Tour of Hungary

Jumbo-Visma went to the head of the affairs and drove the tempo leaving the group reduced to around 30 riders with 8km remaining.

Alex Kirsch rode strongly, protecting Simmons and the young neo-pro never faltered and kept a good position in the group, even in the most demanding gradients.

Damien Howson (Mitchelton–Scott) attacked with 2.5km to go and opened a small gap but the winning move came after the red kite with one kilometer remaining when Attila Valter (Team CCC) launched a counter-attack. Simmons was fast to respond and paced himself in pursuit, however there was no stopping the Hungarian who overtook Howson and won the stage and GC.

The Junior World Champ showed amazing grit and out-climbed Howson to take second place on the stage, just 10 seconds shy of Valter.  Simmons took his first professional podiums, for the stage and also for the General Classification.

Today was the only true GC day and with none of us in the team being pure climbers, the plan was to race aggressively and maybe try to put someone in the breakaway. That didn’t quite work, but before the final climb Will (Clarke) and Ryan (Mullen) attacked and the move went quite far which was perfect, it made the racing quite hard in the chasing, forcing some teams to burn quite a few guys.

In the final climb me and Alex (Kirsch) were together and I was very lucky to have him there to pace me up the first 20 minutes of the climb. It wasn’t a super hard climb, but the pace was high, and it was strung out so to have an extra person there to help with the positioning was key.

With 3km to go, we turned right, and it got really steep. From there the only tactic was to hang on. To follow a move on such a steep gradient isn’t perfect for me but to be able to hold on for second it was nice and an important step on my way to my first win.

I hope to improve from here and I’m already looking forward to the Tour of Luxembourg in a week and the Classics after that. A podium is a nice step up, but the real goal is always to win so I’m looking forward to going one spot better.

- Quinn Simmons

Quinn Simmons on his first pro podium.

Nicola Conci sprints to third in the uphill finish to stage 4 in the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali

Nicola Conci finished third in a thrilling ending to the 166-kilometer second stage from Riccione to Sogliano al Rubicone, his first podium as a pro rider with two more hilly stages remaining in the five-stage, four-day race.

“It is the confirmation that I wanted about the quality of the work I have done so far. August was a busy and taxing month, but it allowed me to grow in condition. I came to Coppi e Bartali looking for answers, and today’s third-place gave them to me. It’s not a victory, which remains the main objective I’ll be chasing, but it’s still a very important boost of confidence,” said Conci.

The final result saw Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck-QuickStep) crossing the line first, one second ahead of Jhonatan Narvaez (INEOS Grenadiers) and Conci after 4 hours and 20 minutes of racing. A breakaway mainly set the pace with five riders that gained a maximum advantage of 2 minutes and 50 seconds. After 100 kilometers, the inexorable reeling back of the day’s escape group began and concluded with 30 kilometers remaining.

Jacopo Mosca opened hostilities in the finale, attacking with race leader Mikkel Frølich Honoré (Deceuninck-QuickStep). Together they put the bunch on the ropes for nearly 10 kilometers. Then, on the climb to the finish, the final verdict unfolded.

The climb towards Sogliano was not very steep and regular, but the final stretch was really hard. In the last passage, Jacopo inflamed the race with an attack and allowed me not to waste too much energy. When the group caught them back, the speed up to the last ramp was very high. I managed to take the finale in the first positions, an important action to play my chances. Bagioli went very strong, it was tough to beat him today, but I'm still satisfied with the podium.

- Nicola Conci

Jhonnatan Narvaez, Andrea Bagioli and Nicola Conci during the 35th Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali 2020, Stage 2.

Conci gained positions in the general classification, climbing into fourth place, 29 seconds behind new leader Bagioli and 13 seconds from third held by Quick-Step teammate João Almeida

“It would not be bad to finish the race on the podium, but if I have to declare an objective to chase in the next two stages, that is taking a victory. Both paths are tough and demanding; they will not be easy to manage.

“I foresee two hard stages and a good selection in the final. I think we can play with good teamwork, first of all with Jacopo, who has already shown that he’s going strong. I promise we’ll be willing and determined to give it a try!”