UCI Road World Championships - Yorkshire-born rider impresses as USA dominate junior road race

Quinn Simmons shows off his junior men's road race gold medal. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.
Quinn Simmons shows off his junior men's road race gold medal. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

The United States took gold and bronze in the opening road race of the World Championships in Yorkshire, but Leeds-born Alfie George recorded an impressive top-10 finish.

Pre-race favourite Quinn Simmons broke away on the first lap of the 13 kilometre Harrogate circuit and time-trialed his way to victory by 56 seconds from Italian Alessio Martinelli.

Quinn Simmons celebrates as he crossed the finish line in Harrogate. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Quinn Simmons celebrates as he crossed the finish line in Harrogate. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Simmons' teammate Magnus Sheffield won a four-way sprint for third and George came in seventh, one minutes, 45 seconds behind the winner.

The 18-year-old was followed home by teammates Leo Hayter (15th, on the same time), Lewis Askey (22nd at four minutes, 39 seconds behind Simmons), Leeds' Sam Watson (28th at 8, 45) and Max Walker (30th at 9, 18).

“It does feel great, top-10," said George, who lives in Scotland, but spends much of his time - when training or racing abroad - staying with grandparents in Leeds.

"It was good, but it’s not quite what we can for as a team. It didn’t quite pan out on the day."

George reflected: "We were trying to get organised, we had our team plan at the start.

“Max was in the break for a long time, but on the big, long climb - at Summerscales - he was struggling there.

“He lasted a bit longer, he got to the finishing circuit, but he was spent.

"Lewis and Sam were trying to fire off moves and by the time it all came back together they didn’t have much legs left.

“In the end it was just me and Leo and he said he was gassed. We couldn’t chase down breaks.

“My job for the first bit was to just sit in and if the long-game ran out of steam be there for the sprint.

“Coming to the finishing circuit I didn’t know if I had the legs. I was a bit in two minds because I wasn’t the absolute strongest on the climbs, but in the end the group was so small I had to cover moves on the climbs.

“I also knew I couldn’t do all the work because I wouldn’t have anything left for the sprint. It’s not quite what we came for, but seventh - it’s pretty good.”