He’s not old enough to taste the bubbly on the podium, but Nielson Powless, 19, could still celebrate his first UCI win Sunday at Joe Martin Stage race. The young Axeon Hagens Berman rider scooped up enough bonus seconds in the stage 4 criterium in Fayetteville, Arkansas to win the overall by four seconds, ahead of Silber’s Nigel Ellsay.
“This is awesome,” Powless said. “It pretty much all came down to the time bonuses. I knew going into the last lap that I didn’t have enough seconds to take the win. So Geoffrey Curran gave me a full lap lead-out to the base of the climb. I was going back and forth all the way to the line with Travis McCabe (Holowesko-Citadel) and Carlos Alzate (UnitedHealthcare). It came down to a bike length between the three of us as we all threw our bikes at the line.”
McCabe won the stage, Powless was second, and Alzate rounded out the podium. Powless claimed the overall with the nine seconds won at the finish, combined with the three-second bonus he collected in the race’s first sprint. Janier Acevedo held the overall lead since the stage 1 time trial, but he could not maintain his seven-second advantage over the young Californian on the final day.
UnitedHealthcare’s Coryn Rivera won the women’s overall by an even narrower margin, two seconds ahead of her teammate, Linda Villumsen. Lauren Stephens (Tibco – SVB), who won stage 4, rounded out the podium in third.
“Personally, I wouldn’t call myself a GC rider but the racing and courses at Joe Martin really suit my strengths,” Rivera said. “Going into the last stage we had really good cards to play with Linda in the lead and myself in second. Following attacks on the intermediate sprints and finishing second on the day resulted in Linda and I swapping places on GC, but what was most important was that we, as a team, came away with the GC win this weekend.”