Paris-Nice: Neilson Powless, Matteo Jorgenson hang close to the Tour de France kings

A pair of top-10's at Paris-Nice provide fresh confirmation that the US duo's upward progression continues.


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Neilson Powless and Matteo Jorgenson went the distance at Paris-Nice to punch into the top-10 overall after hanging close with Tour de France kings Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogačar.

Powless at EF Education-EasyPost finished sixth while Movistar’s Jorgenson hit eight overall, respectively, in a pair of encouraging stage race results for the ever improving U.S. duo.

“I really tried my best today to get to fifth but it didn’t go my way,” Jorgenson said. “A sad end to the best bike race of the year. This stage was incredible though, I loved every single second; every climb and every descent.”

Jorgenson’s eighth in 2021 was the best by a U.S. rider since Tejay van Garderen was fourth in 2014 and Andrew Talansky was second in 2013, and Powless bettered that with sixth Sunday.

Pogačar was a leg up on everyone, but both Powless and Jorgenson were right in the middle of the elite pack fighting for the final podium spots.

Could this season prove that they’re the Tour prince’s in waiting that U.S. fans have so desperately been waiting for? Time will tell.

Hanging close to the ‘bigs’

Powless wore the polka-dot jersey early in Paris-Nice. (Photo: Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

Both riders already have GC victories in 2023, and Paris-Nice was their first major European target.

The 26-year-old Powless held the King of the Mountains jersey after the opening day, and confirmed his improving depth and consistency by staying close to the Tour de France “bigs” of across the intense week of racing to move up three spots on GC on Sunday at 2:20 back.

“Sixth overall in Paris-Nice after a crazy week,” Powless said. “Huge thanks to my teammates for the effort out there. Loved every minute of the final stage around Nice. A little rest then onto Milan-San Remo next weekend.”

Both finished inside the top-10 in Saturday’s decisive climbing stage at Col de la Couillole within 38 seconds to Pogačar to keep their podium ambitions alive going into Sunday’s finale around Nice.

Jorgenson was also hoping to move up, but hit Nice in eighth at 2:32 behind Pogačar.

Both were about 90 seconds from hitting the final podium on the Promenade des Anglais, not bad against such Tour heavyweights that also included a superb rider from second-place rider David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ).

Moving on up

Jorgenson joined Pogačar in the lineup this week at Paris-Nice. (Photo: Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

Jorgenson matched his eighth in Paris-Nice debut in 2021, while sixth is Powless’s career-best to improve on his 25th in his previous start in 2021.

The steady and ever improving results see both riders earning more leadership opportunities.

Jorgenson won the Tour of Oman, and will race next at Tour of Flanders and be one of the leaders for Movistar across the Ardennes. Powless races next at Milan-San Remo and also heads into the northern classics.

Return tickets to the Tour de France are likely for both riders.

Jorgenson admits his burly build likely disqualifies him as a potential Tour winner, but he’s determined to win stages and play a decisive role every July. Powless cuts a more traditional grand tour profile, but also admits he still has work to do.

Both are already emerging as legitimate contenders in one-week stage races as well as one-day classics, and Paris-Nice only served to reconfirm that.

Jorgenson was even joking that he was the place-holder rider for Pogačar in the best young rider’s category all week after the UAE Team Emirates rider barnstormed into yellow.

“Thanks [Pogačar] for lending me your shirt this week. It’s fresh as hell,” Jorgenson said.

If their upward trajectory continues, both could be knocking on the door for more against the likes of Vingegaard and Pogačar in the coming seasons.

Jorgenson matched his Paris-Nice debut with eighth. (Photo: Alex Broadway/Getty Images)

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