For the first time since the 2017 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic on their home mountain passes between Durango and Silverton, Sepp Kuss and Quinn Simmons shared the road in a professional cycling race Thursday.
Kuss, 25, and Simmons, 18, both lined up at the start of the Tour de La Provence on Thursday for the first of a four-stage race. Kuss, a third-year rider from Jumbo-Visma, and Simmons, a UCI World Tour rookie for Trek Segafredo, both finished safely in the same time as stage winner Nacer Bouhanni of France in 3 hours, 16 minutes, 35 seconds.
Simmons would finish 10th for his first professional top-10 result. He was the first American to the finish line and the first on his team. Kuss would finish 76th.
The first stage was mostly flat for nearly 93 miles from Châteaurenard to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The next three days will be more selective with bigger climbs. Friday’s stage is 108 miles followed by an 87-mile stage Saturday with a summit finish and a 106-mile finale Sunday.
“First day done and my first professional top 10. Tomorrow we had to the climbs but looking forward to more opportunities to improve,” Simmons said in a post to Instagram.
Kuss will enjoy the bigger climbing days to come as he prepares this season for his Tour de France debut this summer.
Simmons is coming off his first pro stage race only last week at the Etoile de Bessèges in France. He finished 40th overall at the five-stage race with one top 20 and a 23rd-place finish in the race-ending time trial. He said he is starting to find his form with team dynamics on his new squad and well as his legs as he prepares for the spring one-day classic races, especially Paris-Roubaix.
This is the first time Kuss and Simmons have met on the road since Kuss won the 2017 IHBC while Simmons, only 16 at the time, finished eighth though he would not transition to road racing from mountain biking until 2018.