Photo credit: Dale Berg
After years of dedication, first as a junior and then as an elite cyclist, Holly Simonson won her first national title on Monday at the 2023 Nationals in the criterium. She and her teammate Emily Flynn had been racing crits for the LA Sweat team in the US for the past month in preparation for the Nationals.
“I had the chance to do the first part of Tour of America’s Dairyland, which was invaluable race experience and a place where I gained a lot of confidence through rolling in breaks with National and Pan Am champions,” Holly said.
Holly with teammate Emily Flynn. Photo credit: Gregoire Crevier
The Nationals were held in Edmonton and the criterium had a stacked field, Holly said. “It was a hard race but Emily and I worked so well together and animated the race, trusting each other and never giving up.”
“Emily spent time in a solo breakaway, which I then countered, and we had some other good attacks while also patrolling and covering other dangerous moves. After a late race prime I came back from near implosion, dangling near the back, and saw an opportunity to attack. I knew I had to go and didn’t hesitate. A few other women got on me fast and luckily were just as motivated to make a break stick. With five laps to go and the gap growing, it started to sink in that I could win. I knew I had to go early in the sprint, so I opened it up out of corner three and was able to hold it to the line.”
Holly sprinting to the finish. Photo credit: Gregoire Crevier
Holly is not only grateful for the support of her teammate but her coach, Houshang Amiri. “Many years of hard work and dreaming, and the belief of others, have led to this moment. I can’t thank my coach Houshang enough for his never wavering belief in me, and his expertise and guidance over the last eight years.”
National Criterium Champion
“I coached Holly from early Junior’s years and was always amazed how hard and smart she can race,” said Houshang. “Her hard work, commitment, motivation and ability to focus on the training process and push the boundaries shows in her results.”