American Neilson Powless of EF Education-Nippo won the San Sebastian classic on Saturday after edging a thrilling three-way dash for the line on the Basque city’s famous seafront. The 24-year-old from Florida was part of a breakaway over the narrow hill roads outside San Sebastian and finished the 231km course in 5hr 34mins 31sec, just ahead of Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric and Mikkel Honore of Denmark.
Powless identifies as a Native American of the Oneida tribe and is the son of two professional triathletes. Powless, who recently completed the Tour de France with his American outfit, drew level and overtook Bahrain Victorious’ Mohoric right on the line. After riding in rain most of the afternoon, the main pack of riders featuring world champion Julian Alaphilippe crossed the line at the giant horseshoe bay La Concha beach 1min 04sec adrift.
The race is the first major test in the build-up to the Vuelta an Espana in two weeks, where Egan Bernal is tipped to complete a hat-trick of Grand Tour wins; the Colombian was in the mix on Saturday, ending 1min 09sec down on the day. The irrepressible Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten won the women’s race earlier to add to her Olympic time trial gold from just three days ago.
She had also won silver in the road race in Japan. “I was never in any trouble,” said the infectiously enthusiastic van Vleuten. “I didn’t know how the jet lag would be, but I wanted to win here for my team,” said van Vleuten who rides for the Spanish team Movistar, based in the Basque country.