American Neilson Powless rode to third place overall behind his Axeon Hagens Berman teammate Eddie Dunbar in Le Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux, a three-day race in Belgium that finished Sunday. Belgian Jasper Philipsen (BMC Development), winner of stage 2, claimed the GC by 11 seconds.
The highlight of the weekend for Powless was a win in the stage 3a time trial, a 10.3km race in Chièvres.
“The win was good, but I don’t think my form is quite at its best yet,” Powless said. “I am putting out good numbers, but it is not quite as comfortable as I would like it to be. That’s good, though, because there is quite a bit of racing to go in this spring block, and I do not want to be on peak form too early.”
His effort in Sunday’s first stage brought Powless within 13 seconds of Philipsen, so the Axeon team tried to break apart the race in stage 3b, a 97.7km race from Ath to Chièvres.
“We definitely put the pressure on BMC,” Dunbar said. “The yellow jersey got dropped on one of the climbs only 30 km into the race. So our plan nearly worked. If the other teams had not started helping BMC chase, we might have made it. We definitely gave it our best shot.”
Estonian Aksel Nõmmela (Leopard Pro Cycling) went on to win the sprint in the final stage.
In addition to Dunbar’s and Powless’s podium results, the Axeon Hagens Berman team also won the teams classification by 38 seconds ahead of BMC Development team.