Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah — Neilson Powless laid down a top 10 performance Wednesday at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah individual time trial. The powerful performance moved him into the top five overall at the seven-day American stage race. Powless remains the best young rider while teammate Christopher Lawless held onto the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey.
“Obviously it was a really hard stage, I think harder than most people expected,” said Axeon Race Director Jeff Louder. “The time gaps were a little bigger than I personally anticipated. It was great to see Neilson in the top 10 and for him to hold on to the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey.”
Louder said that while the focus was on today’s race against the clock, the team has bigger aspirations at the UCI 2.HC race.
“Neilson needed to do a good time, but we're also thinking about the overall GC. He can win the whole thing,” said Louder. “He had a very good ride and is within 40 seconds of the overall. At this point with four stages remaining, we are in a good position. We have time to make up, but he's obviously very strong and has good riders to support him.”
The reigning Under 23 USA national time trial champion powered his road bike to a time of 28:25 on the nine-kilometer uphill course; time trial bikes were not allowed per race organizers. He was 38 seconds off the winning time of Rob Britton (Rally Cycling) who moved into the overall race lead.
“It was definitely a hard stage finishing at 8,700ft. I actually rode faster than expected, which serves as a confidence boost, “ said Powless. “Today allowed me to start thinking about ambitions of a podium finish. I’m fifth overall and only 10 seconds from the podium. I feel as if I’m coming into good form and feel like I’m getting stronger every day.”
Axeon Hagens Berman's other seven riders and their finishes: William Barta (24th, at 1:18); Logan Owen (50th, at 2:00); Jhonnatan Narvaez (52th, at 2:05); Michael Rice (61st, at 2:12); Rui Oliveira (87th, at 2:59); Christopher Lawless (93rd, at 3:10) and Jonathan Brown (124th, at 4:49).
Thursday's Stage 4 is an out-and-back course in South Jordan City. Despite having nearly a dozen short climbs, the 199-kilometer race is considered a sprinter’s stage at America’s Toughest Stage Race.
Photo: Davey Wilson