Juan Manuel Gárate, DS, EF- Nippo
Neilson Powless took his first WorldTour victory at San Sebastian. The American was in the winning move of three that contained Mikkel Honoré and Matej Mohoricč. That move had gone inside the final 23km after Powless’s team- mate Simon Carr had spent time away on his own. Powless was the only rider in the leading group not to come down in sketchy conditions on the final descent, and outsprinted the pair at the finish line.
The guys did a recon the day before and we agreed that we couldn’t wait until the final short climb of the day for something to happen. We had to do it before, in order to win the race. Neilson always races hard, he knew he could go for it, and we were looking for the best situation for us. That was to open it up on the second-last climb with Simon Carr, who was amazing that day. We changed the plan a little bit on the road, because we saw that the bunch was riding too easy, and we didn’t want that on that second-last climb because we wanted Simon to attack. We needed to reduce the bunch of chasers, because we didn’t want 60, 70 riders there. The group was reduced and there were not a lot of team-mates around, so the plan worked and they did great.
It was wet, it was a fast downhill, and Mohoricč was there too. We asked Neilson to stay in the top four and try and follow the guys, and exactly that happened. When we saw that, with three guys in front, we asked Simon Car to stop in order to make the gap bigger back to the bunch.
Neilson always races hard, he knew he could go for it and we were looking for the best situation for us