Neilson Powless achieved a solo win in Grand Prix La Marseillaise, the American of the American team EF Education-EasyPost had riders like Marijn Van den Berg and Ben Healy on the team. The initial plan was to sprint with Marijn van den Berg but at the hardest climb Rout des Crêtes the American got into an attack group and changed the tactic.
“It was great, my teammates did a great job of keeping me well positioned and out of danger. We had several assets to play for, with myself, Ben Healy and Marijn van den Berg”, he said on the post race interview.
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The group was large and had some breakaway specialists like Valentin Ferron of Total Energies and talented young climbers like Lenny Martinez. A good amount of teams were present there, and the fast man really suffered with Rout des Crêtes climb so Powless received green light to win the stage by the team and his sprinter Marijn Van den Berg.
“My plan was to get into such a group and push the pace, so we could sprint with Marijn. But then I looked at the situation and heard from Marijn and from the team car that I was allowed to continue because we had a good group. I want to thank them for the freedom to go my own way”, he revealed.
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With a big break like that, the chances of the peloton to catch them were low. But at the same time the chances of a solo rider to distance himself from them weren't also better, specially with teams having more than 1 rider present there. Still Powless, felt strong and launched a strong attack prior to the last climb that gave him the victory.
“I hit a gap on the descent. Actually, I was planning to attack only on the first lanes of the climb, but I already had the lead there. I went as hard as I could over the final climb and gave everything. Luckily I had good legs.”, Powless said about his decisive attack.
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