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Neilson Powless lifts crash-crunched EF Team with top-10 at Liège-Bastogne-Liège

American talent continues to stand out in hilly classics with eighth in Liège after five teammates abandon in mass crash.

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There’s no stopping Neilson Powless – not even a huge crash that takes out five of his teammates.

Powless continued to confirm his massive potential in the hilly classics with a resilient ride to eighth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday.

The 25-year-old American finished in the main chase group after proving the one rider close to matching the megaswatt race-winning move by Remco Evenepoel over the Redoute summit in Sunday’s super-speed edition of La Doyenne.

“That was some day. Eighth in LBL! I tried to follow the man who won, but he was stronger than everyone today,” Powless wrote Sunday night.

As if a career-best monument finish wasn’t enough, Powless was one of just two EF Education-EasyPost riders to make the finish in downtown Liège.

“EF Education EasyPost lost all but two riders due to a massive crash. Luckily I made it through with Alberto Bettiol who helped guide me through the rest of the race. I hope everyone who crashed comes out OK,” Powless said.

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Powless catapulted his way into the world’s view last summer with his first-ever pro victory at Donostia San Sebastian and a high-flying fifth at the road worlds.

Finishing eighth in Liège as part of a group also containing the likes of Wout van Aert, Alejandro Valverde, and Michael Woods continues the upward curve as he and Brandon McNulty carry U.S. hopes in the hilly classics.

And Powless had to do it all short-handed Sunday.

All but one of his teammates were wiped out in the mass crash at 60km to go that put Julian Alaphilippe and dozens more on the list of DNFs for the day. Pink EF Education-EasyPost jerseys were seen at the center of the huge pile-up, and five of its climbing crew instantly abandoned.

The team later confirmed the carnage.

“Christian Odd Eiking, Ben Healy, Rigoberto Urán, Simon Carr, and Ruben Guerreiro all crashed during Liège-Bastogne-Liège,” the team wrote on Twitter. “They’re all sore but in good spirits. Guerreiro injured his knee and is undergoing evaluation, as is Eiking for elbow and wrist injuries. Both have gone for X-rays.”

Powless won’t have long to rest his legs after more than six hours of leg-zapping Ardennes climbs Sunday.

The Californian is due to line up at the Swiss Tour de Romandie on Tuesday before he zeroes in on a third start at the Tour de France in the summer.