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Indian Country Today

The first Native American to compete in the Tour de France celebrated his 24th birthday in style.

Neilson Powless, Oneida, marked the occasion last week by placing fourth in stage 4 of the grueling race.

The Roseville, California, cyclist is riding with the American professional team Education First Pro Cycling.

“Best. Birthday. EVER,” Powless said in a Sept. 3 tweet that included EF Pro Cycling congratulating him on his finish.

Neilson Powless, Tour De France 2020 (Photo by Jered Gruber & Ashley Gruber | Gruber Images)

Powless comes from an athletic family, according to the Sacramento Bee.

His sister, Shayna Powless, is also a professional cyclist, his mother ran the marathon in the 1992 Olympics, and his father was a successful triathlete.

“We’re just so, so excited for him,” Neilson’s dad, Jack Powless, told the newspaper. “It was a lifelong dream for him.”

Twenty-two teams take part in the Tour de France, traversing the European country for three weeks. This year’s race was postponed because of the pandemic. It started Aug. 29 and ends Sept. 20.

Follow Powless’ progress here.

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