Sacramento, California, USA
Date of birth
3 September 1996
When Neilson Powless started racing X-Terra triathlons with his sister back home in Northern California, he just wanted to spend time outside and rip around the trails near his house. His first love was mountain-biking. It was his best discipline in those off-road triathlons, and when he got to high-school, there were all sorts of chances for him to compete in California’s mountain-bike league. Soon, he was travelling with the US national team, racing junior world cups and championships against the world’s most talented mountain-bikers. Race in and race out, Neilson proved he was one of them.
Then he decided he wanted to have a go on the road.
Neilson has progressed steadily since he turned pro in 2018, thanks to his hard-work and diligent approach to training. In 2020, Neilson Powless became the first tribally recognized Native North American to race the Tour de France. The next year, our rising American star won Spain’s greatest one-day race, the Clásica San Sebastián, and finished fifth at the world championships in Belgium. Neilson was stellar in 2022. After a strong campaign in the Ardennes, he finished fourth on GC at the Tour de Suisse and lit up the Tour de France. He finished the year off with a victory at the Japan Cup.
This year has been his best yet. Neilson won his first race of 2023: the Grand Prix Cycliste de Marseille. He then won the overall at Étoile de Bèsseges and stormed the Flemish classics, finishing third at Dwars door Vlaanderen and fifth at De Ronde in his debut campaign on the cobbles. Neilson now has his sights set on the Tour de France.
Neilson lives in Nice, France with his wife during the racing season. He enjoys exploring their new city and relaxing on the beach after hard rides through the Alps.
If he can find time in his schedule, Neilson would like to get back to his roots, and do some off-road alternative racing in 2023.
Question & answer
What's your first cycling memory?
Riding around the cul-de-sac on an Air Force base in California where my dad was stationed.
What do you love the most about cycling?
Cycling is so dynamic. It can give you a thrill and an outlet for your competitive energy, or it can give you a moment to yourself to help you relax and take your mind off things. For me it has given me the ability to travel the world and chase my dreams.
What is your favorite climb?
What is your favorite training session?
Long rides with medium efforts on climbs. Never too painful, but a great way to cover a lot of distance.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Back to Japan, or maybe Korea. I haven’t had as much exposure to those cultures, so I’d like to go.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee. Almost any way.