“I thought there might be an opportunity later in the race once the GC was established, and depending on our position in the overall standings. To have the opportunity was amazing, but my main expectation was that I would roll into a support role for others. ”
In fact, after finishing the Tour of Poland in early August, Powless expected to pin his next race numbers to Tirrreno-Adriactico rather than the Tour. He was on EF Pro Cycling’s long list for the Tour de France, but with such a truncated season placed on professional cycling, earning a spot on any WorldTour team for cycling’s flagship event was always going to be. particularly difficult in 2020.
“I knew I was going to the Tour about three days before we went to Nice,” he said. “I was in Andorra with the rest of the long list team and we were doing about 40 there before the race so we could start the bubble together. The squad was only 100% established a week before the start, but everyone on the long list was preparing as if they were running the Tour.
“If I haven’t done it [get selected] so I would be racing Tirreno right now and maybe the Giro d’Italia – luckily right now there are so many races in such a tight time frame.
“I assumed I was going to Tirreno. I knew there was still a chance but I wasn’t 100%, I don’t think everyone was, but when Charly Wegelius called me I was overwhelmed with emotion . I want to assume I was going there until I got that call and when it came it was an amazing feeling. ”
Powless only moved to EF Pro Cycling during the offseason after two years at Jumbo Visma. He took steady but not spectacular steps in the Dutch team and made his Grand Tour debut at Vuelta a España towards the end of 2019.
However, when the offer came to ride for EF, he jumped at the chance and hasn’t looked back since. His progress on the Tour de France might surprise some, but it’s a combination of development, the environment he’s found himself in and hard work.
“Being on EF seems so comfortable to me and already since the first team camp, it’s like a home and a family. They are an amazing team and the effort the runners and staff put into everything they do is inspiring. I want to repay their hard work, ”he said.
“Having done a Grand Tour last year helps keep things in perspective and that means I won’t worry about a stage and think more about the long term. When you have the opportunity, you must give it. all you have. After each year in the WorldTour you get a little more sustainable and a little stronger and I think that is starting to be felt this year. ”
“I think it’s possible,” he admits when asked if the stacked Jumbo-Visma team would have offered him limited options in the short term had he stayed with the Dutch squad.
“Especially with the team that Jumbo brought to this race. Each of these riders has such an incredible track record and it would have been a very difficult team to succeed but anything could have happened. I am a strong rider and I bring a lot of value to a team heading towards an overall classification in a Grand Tour. I’m just happy EF thought I would add value to the team they brought to the Tour. ”
Powless, just like EF Pro Cycling, has a lot of ambitions and goals in this year’s Tour de France. Urán seems capable of at least another top-ten, while several of their climbers, including Powless, look for breakaway options in the second half of the race.
The team also sit second in the squad standings, but knowing Wegelius he will set manageable but meaningful goals for the Tour squad for the remaining two weeks.
“We’ll have to see how the race goes,” Powless said when asked if he’ll be participating in any other mountain breaks.
“It depends on what the directors ask for. If they want me to go for the break, I’ll take the break, and if they tell me to support Rigo, I’ll just try to stay by his side as much as I can. Whenever I am given a task, I try to do it to the best of my ability. ”