Amgen Tour of California: Meet The Home State Guys

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By Sean Weide
12 May 16

Two of the eight riders on the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team roster are native Californians. Geoffrey Curran hails from Tustin, a city located in Orange County, while Neilson Powless lives in Roseville, near Sacramento, the state capital and finish city of the eight-day race. We posed several questions to them as they prepared for their home-state race.

What are your ambitions this year?

Curran – "I would like to make an impact at the Amgen Tour of Calfornia, both through the team and individually. There are a few stages, Stage 2 (South Pasadena to Santa Clarita) and Stage 7 (Santa Rosa to Santa Rosa) in particular, where breaks could be let go and have a chance to the line. The team has legitimate contenders for every day, so I want to help put them in situations where they can excel."

Powless – "For myself, I am aiming to make a name for myself by showing my strength as a diverse rider. The team is looking really strong with most of the riders on the squad already having results which can speak for themselves. After taking the recent success of the team into account, I believe we have a team strong enough to get some good results and possibly a strong (GC) general classification showing."

What you would like to see the team accomplish?

Curran – "I think the team can put a rider in the top 10 overall and be a factor on the most challenging and dynamic stages. We race well when the racing is tough, so we can be aggressive and have potential to do well each day."

Powless – "I believe we have a team strong enough to get some good results and possibly a strong GC showing."

Do you have a particular past memory of the race?

Curran – "I enjoyed racing on Mount Baldy last year, a climb I sometimes train on when at home. It was great to have so many people on the roadside and see what a big race is like on home roads."

Powless – "I grew up just outside of Sacramento, so this race is one I have been able to watch in person from a very young age. Coming to the stages to watch your favorite riders take off or sprint to the finish line was incredible. It was like seeing your favorite super hero, but now I am going to be competing against the same people I used to idolize, which makes the whole experience that much more surreal. It has always been a dream of mine to race in the Amgen Tour of California against some of the world's best riders. Now that I have been given the chance to compete in the race, I will be giving it everything to show I deserve to be here."

Is there a stage you are looking forward to?

Curran – "I am looking forward to Stage 2 from Pasadena to Santa Clarita. I have ridden parts of the stage before and think it will be a particularly dynamic stage. My grandmother's family grew up almost next door to the stage start and much of my family still lives there, so it will be nice for them to see what I do at a more hands-on level."

Powless – "It is hard to chose one stage I am looking forward to. So I am going to pick three. Stage 3 will be interesting for me to see how I fare going up Gibraltar. Stage 6 will also be exciting to see how my recent success in the time trial stacks up against the world's best. But I also can't leave out the finish in Sacramento. To finish in the city I have spent so much time growing up in is going to be awesome."

Cover photo of Geoffrey Curran (leading) and Neilson Powless by Davey Wilson.

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