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Tour de France

Neilson Powless’ Tour de France blog: The power and wisdom of a dragon

EF Education–EasyPost's Neilson Powless will be writing an exclusive blog for VeloNews during the Tour de France.

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During the 2022 Tour de France the American rider Neilson Powless will be writing an exclusive blog for VeloNews. You can read about the EF Education–EasyPost’s rider’s journey to the race in his first written entry right here.

I feel like we have to address the small green creature in the corner of the room, and I’m not talking about my Tour de France roommate Rúben Guerreiro.

When it comes to our new-look kit I’ve heard it being called a goblin or even a dinosaur but those green little fellows on our new Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes jerseys are in fact, dragons.

Don’t worry, I had to ask the question myself when I first saw the kit but they’re a cool touch. The dragon symbolizes strength, power, and wisdom — and I’m a fan of the new look and what Rapha and Palace have designed together. I think it’s definitely flashy and stands out, and hopefully it helps to get more acknowledgement for the women’s race.

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Right now in Copenhagen we’re getting ready for the men’s race. We’re all COVID-free and healthy, so we’re firing on all cylinders. On a personal level I feel like I’m in a good place. I didn’t get the official call to come to the Tour until about three days ago but that was the same for everyone on the team.

There was a long list of about 10 guys but until we all returned negative results the team wasn’t going to tell us if we were definitely going or not. I think that was the right thing to do, and I don’t hold anything against the team for wanting to do that. It’s just the world that we’re living in now. I just trained and prepared myself as if I had a spot.

Thankfully we’ve all made it to Denmark and we’re all happy to be here. Being on stage yesterday at the team presentation with Magnus Cort was a special moment. I could really see the happiness in his eyes.

Now that I’m here I’m really hoping to win a stage. I have a few goals though.

The stage win is the biggest one on a personal level but as a group we’d really like to aim for the team classification. I think that’s definitely possible, and Rigoberto Urán looked really good in Suisse before he had to pull out. He’s been flying in training, so I’m just hoping that he can show that form in the race. He’s told us that he’s been feeling amazing, so if I can win something and help Rigoberto into the top 10 or top five, that would be an amazing Tour de France for me.

When it comes to the Tour de France, the UCI points are on everyone’s mind. If there’s a chance to score, that’s what everyone wants, but at the same time we’re in this race to achieve our goal of doing as well as possible. GC and stage wins are the aims and I feel like the strategy is a bit different when it comes to one-day races, where things can be more tactical in the hunt for points. In Flèche Wallonne, for example, I threw my bike for 19th place but here the goals are more about stages and the overall.

During the race I’ll be sharing hotel rooms with Rúben Guerreiro. We know each other really well from our Axeon days and he’s a great roommate. We’re pretty close but I must say he was stretching late last night after the lights had gone out.

I could hear him in the corner of the room shuffling around. There was all moving and heavy breathing in the dark and I know what you’re thinking but I honestly thought he was just rolling around in bed. Then I turned my phone torch on and there he was, in the pitch black with his yoga mat rolled out and doing a stretch routine. That better not be happening after two week of racing.