Powless to keep racing in pink

Young American extends with team EF Education–NIPPO

“The way that we operate is just unparalleled in cycling. It really feels like a family.”

– Neilson Powless 



Neilson Powless won the hearts of cycling fans around the world with his attacking style at last year’s Tour de France. When he rode onto the Champs Élysées at the finish of his debut Tour, he had shown everyone that he is one of the most exciting riders in the sport. Now, off the back of his spectacular first pro win at the Clásica de San Sebastián, we are proud to announce that Neilson will keep racing for EF Education-NIPPO and we can’t wait to see what he does next.


“I really feel like I am a part of EF,” Neilson says. “I’m part of the company and part of the team. The way that we operate is just unparalleled in cycling. It really feels like a family, with the way that the staff and everyone takes into account the riders’ lives and the riders’ well-being. It is always a really nice experience to go to a race or travel, because they always take good care of us.


“Neilson is a big part of this team’s heart, and a big part of its future,” says team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Most importantly, he’s a truly upstanding person. We absolutely love having him on the team. I look forward to what we’ll accomplish together over the coming seasons.”

Travel is one of Neilson’s favorite parts about his job. He hopes that he and his teammates can inspire people to see places in a new way.


“I feel like almost every other week I am in a different country,” he says. “We are racing on their backroads and climbing their mountains and eating their local foods. I think that the experience that we have is definitely a different one than most people would think about when they think about traveling the world, but I think that is what makes this job, this career so special. We are really connecting with countries on a deeper level. We are out in the forests and in the fields and on the roads, on farm roads and main roads, visiting little nooks and crannies of every corner of every country that we visit.”


Someday, Neilson does hope to return to Paris to visit the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre without being exhausted at the end of a three-week bike race, or spend a day in Rome, just looking at the Colosseum, but for now he is happy to always be moving onto the next race, pursuing his cycling ambitions.

That positive attitude is a great boon to the team. When the going gets tough, the guys can always count on Neilson to show up with a smile and seize the day.


“I feel that having that motivation, no matter what situation you are in, can sort of bleed over into the other riders and influence the rest of the team as well and can really just bring the team up to another level,” Neilson says. “Just staying positive and staying motivated at all times is something that I am pretty good at, maybe sometimes to a fault, but I am always eager and motivated to do something every day, no matter what is happening in the race.”


Last year Neilson made history as the first tribally recognized Native North American to race the Tour de France. He made the most of his first Grand Boucle – racing in breakaways more than nearly any other rider at that year’s Tour and even contended in a few finals. This year, the Tour was once again Neilson’s big goal for the season. He tried for breakaways, and played a valuable role in supporting team leader – Rigoberto Urán – in the high mountains too.

“It was just a nice experience. Rigo’s such a relaxed leader and we had a pretty young team here so everybody was really excited to race and to always be doing something everyday. It was nice just to be a part of the race from start to finish.” Neilson said at the finish in Paris.


Rigo is one of Neilson’s role models on the team. Neilson is aiming to develop into a general-classification racer himself, one who will stand on podiums at the end of World Tour stage races. Watching Rigo work, day in and day out, has provided him with a lot of inspiration.


“I have learned quite a bit from Rigo and seeing the way he lives and the way he goes about his days,” Neilson says. “He is very professional all year, but he really enjoys his life at the same time.”


Whether he is fighting for wins in cycling’s hardest races or sharing relaxed meals after and talking about the world with his friends and teammates, Neilson does, too.