Neilson Powless finished fourth and teammate Geoffrey Curran was 10th for the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team in Friday afternoon's individual time trial that opened the San Dimas Stage Race.
Powless was 24 seconds off the winning time of 14:21 by Janier Acevedo (Team Jamis) on the 4.25-mile uphill course in the San Gabriel Mountains. Brandon McNulty (LUX/Stradling) was runner-up, eight seconds back. Kyle Murphy (Team Jamis) was third, at 22 seconds.
Already the winner of a pair of races in California this season, Powless said he was "super happy" with the result.
"I had top three in my mind for a while leading up to this race, and I don't think I could have been any closer than two seconds outside of the top three," he said. "I have confidence going into the next few days since there are not really any massive gaps in the top five. Not only that, but we have two riders in the top 10. Geoffrey and I are in a really good spot going into the next couple stages. So we are excited to see what we can do with them.
Curran was one of 10 riders within a minute of the winning time. His 10th-place finish puts him 55 seconds back entering Saturday's 84-mile road race. It was a performance that met his expectations, he said.
"There are quite a few guys at this race who go uphill very quickly for 15 minutes, so it is nice to do well on this day," he said. "With Neilson in fourth, myself in 10th, and Phil O'Donnell in striking distance, we have options for the road race. We are in the position to race aggressively on a course which suits everyone on the team."
O'Donnell was 25th, 1:16 back, Chad Young was 39th at 1:35, Justin Oien was 59th at 1:56 and Jonny Brown was 87th at 2:30. In the best young rider standings, Powless lies second to McNulty.