2021 Road Worlds Day5 1130x600
Team USA

Colby Simmons Top-15 in Junior Men’s Road Race World Championships in Flanders

By: Tom Mahoney  September 24, 2021

Luke Lamperti placed 10th in the U23 race but was later disqualified.

The first day of road racing for the 2021 UCI Road World Championships saw a doubleheader of the Junior and U23 Men race to the finish line the Flemish town of Leuven. In the first race of the day, Durango-native Colby Simmons (Durango, Colo.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized) was Team USA’s top contender, placing fifteenth in the Junior Men’s Road Race. In the U23 Men’s race, Luke Lamperti (Sebastopol, Calif.; Trinity Racing) was well positioned in the field sprint, but was later disqualified by the Panel of Commissaires’.

"We're disappointed in the commissaires' decision to disqualify Luke from his placing. He rode a solid race, and, unfortunately, the panel decided to rule what looked like a bad line choice through a cobbled section. Luke has a bright future in the sport, and this one decision in no way means he's a poor bike rider. We're excited to watch what he does in the coming years,” said Jim Miller, USA Cycling’s Chief of Sport Performance.

Junior Men

The Junior Men competed on eight laps of the Leuven circuit for a total of 121.1 kilometers. The course proved challenging for all athletes, with steep climbs, cobbled sections, and twists and turns. Joining the Simmons on the start line for the Junior Men’s event was Alex Gustin (San Diego; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized), Cole Kessler (Newbury Park, Calif.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized), and Artem Shmidt (Cummingm Ga.; Hot Tube Development Cycling Team).

The course proved especially challenging for teams if a rider had a mechanical. Gustin, unfortunately, was the victim of just such bad luck, suffering from a mechanical at three laps into the event. Junior Men’s Team Director, Joe Holmes, said, “Alex had a mechanical. We got him very, very close to the caravan, which was, I'm going to say, a Herculean effort on this course. Really close, but didn't quite make it so.”

The remaining Team USA riders were all active at the front of the main field, taking turns at the front of the area. In the end, a lead group of eight would be the winning move, with Per Strand Hagenes of Norway attacking out of that group to win. The field absorbed the remaining leaders, and it was a wall-to-wall field sprint for the bronze medal. Simmons was in the top group of riders in contention for the sprint.

Looking towards the future, Gustin and Schmidt are both first-year juniors and have one year of eligibility left, giving them an advantage for 2022. Holmes said about the two riders gaining valuable European experience, saying, “They've both been here all over Europe. I mean, Alex is here for a couple of months. I believe Artem will have about two months under his belt. It's always good to have first-year get experience at worlds so that they kind of know what to expect, hopefully coming back next year.”


1. Per Strand Hagenes (NOR) 2:43.48

2. Romain Gregorie (FRA) +19

3. Madis Mikhels (EST) +24

15. Colby Simmons (USA) +24

27. Cole Kessler (USA) +24

29. Artem Schmidt (USA) +24

DNF. Alex Gustin (USA)

Full Results can be found here.

U23 Men

124 starters took the line in the U23 Men’s event, which ranged from the north of the Belgian countryside to the south Flanders region with stops, and finishes, in the city of Leuven. The makeup for the U23 Men’s team was; Lamperti, Sean Quinn (Sherman Oaks, Calif.; Hagens Berman Axeon), Matthew Riccitello (Tucson, Ariz.; Hagens Berman Axeon), Magnus Sheffield (Pittsford, N.Y.; INEOS Grenadier), and Kevin Vemaerke (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.; Team DSM).

As the race headed from Antwerp to Leuven, the pace wasn’t as great as in years past, causing some jitters to be taken out. The U23 Men’s director, Michael Creed, said, “The start was a lot slower than we thought. That made the race more nervous, and there was just an insane amount of crashes. Luckily, we avoided all those crashes. We just had a bit of bad luck with Magnus and Sean kind of at the clutch point in the race.”

Unfortunately, as the race was returning from the Flanderien loop south of Leuven, both Sheffield and Quinn suffered mishaps and were pushed to the back of the race.

In the last 30 kilometers, Vermaerke attacked with a group of eight other riders. The group stayed out in front of the peloton until the last 7 kilometers when the field absorbed them. The eventual winner, Filippo Baroncini of Italy, would attack in the last 4 kilometers and hold off the field through the twists and turns of the Leuven circuit to squeak out a win. Lamperti was well-positioned for the field sprint, taking ninth in the sprint and tenth overall. He would later be disqualified by the Commissaires’ for an altercation he had with a Belgian rider on the cobble section of the Leuven circuit.

Placement was one of the major battles today in the field, in order to avoid as many of the accidents as possible. Lamperti spoke to this, saying, “Being at the front was important today. As everyone knows, the type of race just has a lot of crashes. So I've been at the front was really what was important, especially on the circuit. That's a lot of corners and up and down the whole time.”


1. Fillippo Baroncini (ITA) 3:37.36

2. Biniam Girmay (ERI) +2

3. Olav Kooij (NED) +2

36. Matthew Riccitello (USA) +2

41. Kevin Vermaerke (USA) +20

DNF Magnus Sheffield (USA)

DNF Sean Quinn (USA)

DQ Luke Lamperti (USA)

Full Results can be found here.

Coming Up

Saturday will see the women race in the Flanders region, with the Junior Women’s road race in the morning and the Elite Women’s road race concluding the day. For the Junior Women, Olivia Cummins (Fort Collins, Colo.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized), Makayla MacPherson (Corona, Calif.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized), Chloe Patrick (Carson, Calif.), and Kaia Schmid (Marblehead, Mass.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized) will be putting on the red, white, and blue to represent Team USA in the event. For the Elite Women’s road race, the Queen of Flanders, Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.; Team DSM), will be leading the team of Kristen Faulkner (Homer, Alaska; Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank), Lauren Stephens (Dallas; Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank), Leah Thomas (Santa Clara, Calif.; Movistar Team Women), Tayler Wiles (Fairfax, Calif.; Trek-Segafredo), Ruth Winder (Boulder, Colo.; Trek-Segafredo). The World Championships will be Winder’s final professional road event, as she is set to retire.

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