Powless Wins Last Stage of Tour de l'Avenir

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By Sean Weide
27 Aug 16

Saint-Sorlin-d'Arves, France - Neilson Powless soloed to win Saturday's final stage of the Tour de l'Avenir while his Axeon Hagens Berman teammates Adrien Costa and Tao Geoghegan Hart finished third and sixth overall, respectively.

In the most prestigious stage race of the season for young riders, Powless delivered USA Cycling's Under 23 squad its second stage win of the eight-day race. The 19-year-old from Roseville, California, shook free from a pair of Colombian teammates about 10 kilometers from the finish atop the Col de la Croix de Fer.

"Just after the one-kilometer-to-go arch, I thought for sure I wasn't going to make it," Powless said. "The gap was at 15 seconds and my legs were hurting so hard that I could not even pedal around one of the switchback corners. I looked back with 800 meters to go and saw an Australian rider coming up. Fortunately, I didn't cramp up from there and made it."

Powless and his Specialized S-works Tarmac crossed the line nine seconds ahead of runner-up Lucas Hamilton (Australia). David Gaudu (France), who won the race overall, was third. Edward Ravasi (Italy) was 24 seconds back of Gaudu in the final standings and Costa, who was fourth on the stage, was 1:23 behind.

Geoghegan Hart, riding for Great Britain, finished sixth overall, 4:16 back, while compiling four top 10 finishes.

"It was great to race in my Under 23 championship jersey and get amongst it most days," the 21-year-old said. "Now I am looking forward to my next races and trying to end the season on a high note."

Costa, 19, won the individual time trial on Tuesday by two seconds from Powless. That result added to the Bend, Oregon, resident's already impressive list of results which include overall victory at the Tour de Bretagne in early May and runner-up at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah this month.

"I think he has had one of the best years an Under 23 rider can ask for," USA Cycling Under 23 General Manager Michael Sayers said. "I hope he is satisfied with his season in general. Getting on the podium here is an incredible accomplishment and traditionally, anybody in the top 10 at Tour de l'Avenir goes to the WorldTour."

Riders from Axeon Hagens Berman have won a team-record 30 races this season, including 15 on the UCI level. Hours after Powless's victory in France, Jonny Brown won the 100-mile road race at the Hotter'N Hell Hundred in Texas. The team wraps up its 2016 campaign at the Tour of Alberta, which begins Sept. 1.

(Header photo of Adrien Costa on the final podium is courtesy of Amaury Sport Organization.)

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