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The 23-year-old will switch to the American squad after racing for two seasons with Dutch WorldTour team Jumbo-Visma.
“I’ve realized that being on an American team, it can help me feel closer to home when I spend so much time away from home,” Powless said in a release. “I also see everyone on the team having a really great time. They really enjoy what they’re doing. You can see that in how the team races. You can see that around the dinner table. And you can see that in the way the riders on the team go about living their lives.”
The news marks the latest chapter in Powless’s young professional career. A former triathlete, Powless joined the Hagens Berman Axeon team in 2016 and quickly established himself as one of the most exciting up-and-coming riders. He won the Joe Martin Stage Race that spring before finishing 9th overall at the 2016 Amgen Tour of California, where he won the Best Young Rider category. Powless then won a stage of the Tour l’Avenir.
Powless made his WorldTour debut in 2018 with Jumbo-Visma, and in 2019 took part in his first grand tour at the Vuelta a España. Powless has been a vital part of Primoz Roglic’s run at the red jersey.
“I see him as a guy with a massive upside, from time trials to short stage races, and eventually the longer stage races, too,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of the EF Education First team. “His climbing is improving every year. He can already be a leader in week-long stage races that are more time-trial focused. I think Neilson, along with Dani Martínez and Sergio Higuita, represent the next phase of our stage-race teams, and I’m very excited about it.”
Powless said his future goals are to win bike races. At Jumbo-Visma he has predominantly ridden as a domestique for the team’s more established riders.
“I want to win a bike race. I haven’t really thought about which one, mostly because we haven’t talked much about my race schedule yet, but any bike race,” Powless said. “And when it’s not my turn to go for a result, I definitely want to be a part of many, many team wins. Eventually when I start a race, I want to go in as a favorite. I don’t know when I’ll get there, but that’s the aim. I hope to be one of the top general classification riders in the world in the future. I believe that if I focus on improving all the small details every day, that I will get there.”