Quinn Simmons: Trek-Segafredo rider apologises for 'divisive, incendiary, and detrimental' tweets

Quinn Simmons holds up the US flag on the podium after winning the road race at the World Junior Championships in 2019
Simmons won the junior road race at the World Championships in Yorkshire in 2019

Trek-Segafredo's junior road race world champion Quinn Simmons has apologised after he made "divisive, incendiary, and detrimental" statements on Twitter.

The 19-year-old American, who won his title in 2019, responded to a tweet by a cycling journalist about United States president Donald Trump with 'bye' and a black hand-waving emoji.

His response, deemed racist by some Twitter users, sparked a backlash.

"I can promise I did not mean for it to be interpreted that way," he said.

"I would like to apologise to everyone who found this offensive as I strongly stand against racism in any form."

Earlier, Trek-Segafredo had said he would not race for them "until further notice".

"Trek-Segafredo is an organization that values inclusivity and supports a more diverse and equitable sport for all athletes. While we support the right to free speech, we will hold people accountable for their words and actions," the team said in a statement.

"Regrettably, team rider Quinn Simmons made statements online that we feel are divisive, incendiary, and detrimental to the team, professional cycling, its fans, and the positive future we hope to help create for the sport.

"In response, he will not be racing for Trek-Segafredo until further notice."

Later on Thursday, Simmons said: "To those who found the colour of the emoji racist, I can promise that I did not mean for it to be interpreted that way. I would like to apologise to everyone who found this offensive as I strongly stand against racism in any form.

"To anyone who disagrees with me politically, that is fine. I won't hate you for it. I only ask the same."

Team Manager, Luca Guercilena added: "We hold all Trek staff and management to a high ethical standard and our athletes are no exception.

"We believe that Quinn has a bright future as a professional athlete if he can use this opportunity to grow as a person and make a positive contribution for a better future for cycling. We remain committed to helping Quinn as much as we can."

On Wednesday, Dutch journalist Jose Been tweeted: "My dear American friends, I hope this horrible presidency ends for you. And for us as (former?) allies too.

"If you follow me and support Trump, you can go. There is zero excuse to follow or vote for the vile, horrible man."

Following his response to the tweet, Simmons was asked by another Twitter user if he was a 'Trumper', to which he replied "that's right" followed by an emoji of the US flag.

In addition to the suggestion of racism, other Twitter users said they would no longer buy bikes from Trek Bikes, the team's title sponsor.

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