Modern pros are often accused of overly relying on technology to win bike races but Neilson Powless can directly thank his Garmin's map feature for avoiding a crash in the Clásica San Sebastián and using the extra energy to sprint to victory and take his first pro win.
In the closing kilometres, Matej Mohorič had gone wide on the same corner Annemiek van Vleuten had struggled with during the women's race earlier in the day, the Slovenian unclipping but managing to stay upright, such are his bike-handling skills. In his wheel, however, Mikkel Honoré wasn't as lucky as the Dane collided with a wall, his bike ricocheting into Lorenzo Rota as Powless was the only one to avoid getting caught up.
"I was watching the map on my Garmin, I think the guys that were in front of me were too focused on the situation in the race and not so much the roads and I could see it was a sharp corner that they ended up crashing in," Powless explained after the finish. "In the end, I was just happy to keep it upright and stay as fresh as possible for the end."
EF Education - Nippo didn't arrive with the strongest squad on the start line but decided to put on a show anyway, Simon Carr going up the road in the wake of Mikel Landa's attack, with Powless then getting himself into the chase group.
"Even though we didn't have the favourite for the race so we tried to race smart and in the end we played our cards perfectly," Powless added.
"First professional victory and I’m just so happy to have taken it here in San Sebastian with our director in the car who is a local and every time I’ve raced in the Basque Country it’s been incredible with the fans and I’m just super happy to win in front of such enthusiastic crowds."
"Simon Carr got away and then from the top we rethought our plans but we decided for Simon to work hard to make sure the gap stayed open," said the aforementioned sports director Juan Manuel Garate.
"I think we’re all equally emotional because of the sheer scale of what we’ve achieved. It’s so hard to win anything in cycling, especially in a race like this. This will fill us with energy for the races to come, especially the Vuelta a España."
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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