Neilson Powless sprints to first pro win at Clásica San Sebastián

Californian 24-year-old Powless outsprints Matej Mohorič and Mikkel Honoré for debut pro win in tough Basque race.

Photo: Getty Images

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Neilson Powless opened his pro account on the wet, greasy roads of the Clásica San Sebastián on Saturday.

The Californian edged a three-rider photo finish after an attacking finale of the Donostiako Klasikoa before celebrating with jubilation along with his EF Education-Nippo team staff.

Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Victorious) placed second in the kick to the line, narrowly edging out Mikkel Honoré (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), who finished third.

The result is the biggest of Powless’ young career.

The 24-year-old regularly animates breakaways in tough hilly days of racing and has twice placed in the top-6 of Tour de France stages. Powless made it count in Saturday’s Basque race after playing a one-two with his teammate Simon Carr.

“I can’t even put into words how much this means to me,” Powless said after the race. “Our director Juanma (Garate) was so excited to come to the race, we didn’t even have the favorites and so we tried to race smart, and in the end we played our cards perfectly. I’m so happy.”

“It’s my first pro victory, and I’m so happy to have taken it here in San Sebastián with a director that’s local. Every time I’ve raced here it’s been incredible with the fans, so I’m super happy to win in front of such enthusiastic crowds.”

Powless had gone into the final kilometers with just Mohorič and Honoré for company after the trio became part of a five-rider lead group on the race’s final Murgil climb.

Mohorič opened up the sprint from the front, but Powless was able to come off his wheel and nudge across the line a fraction ahead of the Slovenian to score his landmark debut win.

16 riders had formed the day’s early break as Powless hung back in the bunch.

The ecapees fractured on the Jaizikibel climb as the peloton lingered around two minutes back.

There were a number of crashes on the wet roads as the pace started to increase in the final 50km. Several riders hit the deck in separate spills before three Bora-Hansgohe riders – including Wilco Kelderman and Matteo Fabbro – came down on a greasy corner, with a race moto also on the ground. Television cameras did not capture what happened.

Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) sparked a flurry of attacks from the peloton on the Erlaitz climb before Carr countered to set up EF Education-Nippo’s winning play. The Brit accelerated hard and motored past Landa and the fractured breakaway riders to lead the race over the summit of the Erlaitz with 40km to go.

Powless, Mohoric, Honoré and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarche-Wanty) bridged across to form a group of five at the front of the race with Carr, and they dangled around one minute ahead of the bunch on the decisive Murgil climb.

Powless didn’t wait when he saw teammate Carr begin to fade.

The 24-year-old kicked out of the breakaway and led solo before Mohoric, Honoré and Rota managed to claw their way back on.

The greasy roads again had a part to play on a sweeping right-hander at just 5km to go. Honoré lost control and slid into a wall, with his bike rebounding into Rota. Mohorič and Powless came through unscathed and powered away at the front of the race before Honoré again caught back with just 1400m to go to set up the final sprint.

The peloton had been charging into the steep lower slopes of the Murgil climb when a crash mid-way through the bunch brought down a number of riders and impeded the chase for the breakaway riders. Trek-Segafredo desperately tried to bring back the charging leaders on behalf of Bauke Mollema but it was all too late, leaving the breakaway to scoop the podium spots.

Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa Results

1POWLESS NeilsonEF Education - Nippo5:34:31
2MOHORIČ MatejBahrain - Victorious0:00
3HONORÉ Mikkel FrølichDeceuninck - Quick Step0:00
4ROTA LorenzoIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux0:00
5COVI AlessandroUAE Team Emirates1:04
6ALAPHILIPPE JulianDeceuninck - Quick Step1:04
7EIKING Odd ChristianIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux1:04
8VINGEGAARD JonasTeam Jumbo-Visma1:04
9MOSCON GianniINEOS Grenadiers1:04
10MOLLEMA BaukeTrek - Segafredo1:04
11SERRANO GonzaloMovistar Team1:04
12VAN GILS MaximLotto Soudal1:04
13PADUN MarkBahrain - Victorious1:04
14CICCONE GiulioTrek - Segafredo1:04
15CARR SimonEF Education - Nippo1:08
16BERNAL EganINEOS Grenadiers1:09
17ULISSI DiegoUAE Team Emirates1:36
18AYUSO JuanUAE Team Emirates1:36
19GUERREIRO RubenEF Education - Nippo1:36
20IZAGIRRE GorkaAstana - Premier Tech1:36
21FERNÁNDEZ RubénCofidis1:36
22YATES SimonTeam BikeExchange1:36
23HAMILTON ChrisTeam DSM1:36
24OOMEN SamTeam Jumbo-Visma1:36
25ZEITS AndreyTeam BikeExchange1:36
26HINDLEY JaiTeam DSM1:39
27YATES AdamINEOS Grenadiers1:39
28BOUCHARD GeoffreyAG2R Citroën Team2:02
29HERMANS BenIsrael Start-Up Nation2:51
30KNOX JamesDeceuninck - Quick Step2:51
31BRAMBILLA GianlucaTrek - Segafredo3:59
32LÓPEZ Juan PedroTrek - Segafredo3:59
33DEVENYNS DriesDeceuninck - Quick Step3:59
34LANDA MikelBahrain - Victorious3:59
35CARRETERO HéctorMovistar Team3:59
36OLDANI StefanoLotto Soudal4:23
37BAKELANTS JanIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux4:23
38SEIGLE RomainGroupama - FDJ4:26
39SWEENY HarryLotto Soudal4:26
40AMEZQUETA JulenCaja Rural - Seguros RGA4:26
41ADRIÀ RogerEquipo Kern Pharma4:26
42GOOSSENS KobeLotto Soudal4:26
43PETILLI SimoneIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux4:26
44BARGUIL WarrenTeam Arkéa Samsic4:26
45BERRADE UrkoEquipo Kern Pharma4:26
46SÁNCHEZ Luis LeónAstana - Premier Tech4:49
47SCHULTZ NickTeam BikeExchange4:54
48PÉRICHON Pierre-LucCofidis5:00
49HÄNNINEN JaakkoAG2R Citroën Team5:00
50TOLHOEK AntwanTeam Jumbo-Visma5:20
51DE LA CRUZ DavidUAE Team Emirates5:41
52NIEVE MikelTeam BikeExchange5:56
53WILLIAMS StephenBahrain - Victorious6:38
54RODRÍGUEZ CarlosINEOS Grenadiers6:41
55RODRÍGUEZ ÓscarAstana - Premier Tech6:41
56BOUWMAN KoenTeam Jumbo-Visma6:41
57HERRADA JoséCofidis7:23
58ROUX AnthonyGroupama - FDJ9:24
59MADRAZO ÁngelBurgos-BH9:24
60WARBASSE LarryAG2R Citroën Team9:24
61ROJAS José JoaquínMovistar Team9:24
62AGIRRE JonEquipo Kern Pharma9:24
63PARRA José FélixEquipo Kern Pharma9:24
64SAMITIER SergioMovistar Team9:24
65JORGENSON MatteoMovistar Team9:24
66BARCELÓ FernandoCofidis9:24
67AZURMENDI IbaiEuskaltel - Euskadi9:24
68BARTA WillEF Education - Nippo9:24
69VINJEBO Emil MielkeTeam Qhubeka NextHash9:24
70DE LA PARTE VíctorTotalEnergies9:24
71BUITRAGO SantiagoBahrain - Victorious9:24
72COLLEONI KevinTeam BikeExchange9:24
73HERMANS QuintenIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux9:41
74STANNARD RobertTeam BikeExchange9:41
75BENEDETTI CesareBORA - hansgrohe9:41
76CATAFORD AlexanderIsrael Start-Up Nation9:41
77VAN DEN BERG LarsGroupama - FDJ9:41
78RUBIO Einer Movistar Team9:41
79MARTÍN GotzonEuskaltel - Euskadi9:41
80KEUKELEIRE JensEF Education - Nippo10:22
81HOFSTEDE LennardTeam Jumbo-Visma10:55
82BERWICK SebastianIsrael Start-Up Nation10:55
83LAZKANO OierCaja Rural - Seguros RGA11:29
84MATÉ Luis ÁngelEuskaltel - Euskadi12:27
85LANGELLOTTI VictorBurgos-BH14:06
86ROSA DiegoTeam Arkéa Samsic14:06
87FRANKINY KilianTeam Qhubeka NextHash14:06
88ANACONA WinnerTeam Arkéa Samsic14:06
89HARDY RomainTeam Arkéa Samsic14:06
90VERMAERKE KevinTeam DSM14:06
91FEDOROV YevgeniyAstana - Premier Tech14:06
92NATAROV YuriyAstana - Premier Tech14:06
93HOLLENSTEIN RetoIsrael Start-Up Nation14:06
94FERRON ValentinTotalEnergies14:06
95ROMO JavierAstana - Premier Tech14:06
96MURGUIALDAY JokinCaja Rural - Seguros RGA14:06
97VAN HOOYDONCK NathanTeam Jumbo-Visma14:06
98REICHENBACH SébastienGroupama - FDJ14:06
99LASTRA JonathanCaja Rural - Seguros RGA14:06
100HARPER ChrisTeam Jumbo-Visma15:26

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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