Canadian rider Michael Woods wins Stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico, takes race lead - InfoNews

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Canadian rider Michael Woods wins Stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico, takes race lead

Canada's Michael Woods crosses the finish line to win the 3rd stage of the 55th edition of the Tirreno Adriatico cycling race, from Follonica to Saturnia, Italy, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse via AP)
September 09, 2020 - 1:36 PM

SATURNIA, Italy - Powering up a climb so steep that bystanders gave riders helping pushes, Canadian Michael Woods won Stage 3 of the Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday and took the overall lead.

The 33-year-old from Ottawa is the first Canadian to have won a stage in the Tirreno-Adriatico — and the first to lead the race.

Woods, who will race alongside four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome next season on the Israel Start-Up Nation team, was unbeatable on the final ascent up the Muro di Poggio Murella climb that preceded the uphill finish at Saturnia.

The 217-kilometre stage started in Follonica.

"I looked at the stage before coming here and recognized that this would be a good one for me, particularly with the course being so difficult and so challenging," Woods told his team website. "The guys on my team rode amazing, did some great work for me, and I had no choice but to step up my game."

Woods is currently riding for EF Education First Pro Cycling. The Israel Start-Up Nation team is co-owned by Canadian-born Sylvan Adams, a former Canadian Masters cycling champion who emigrated to Israel in 2015.

Woods's last race win was also in Italy, at the Milano-Torino one-day race in 2019.

Woods' cycling resume also includes a stage win at the 2018 Spanish Vuelta, a bronze medal in the road race at the 2018 world championships and a second place at the historic Liege-Bastogne-Liege one-day race in Belgium in 2018.

On Wednesday, Woods left behind rivals including 2018 Tour champion Geraint Thomas on the 20 per cent gradient and summited alone. Polish rider Rafal Majka managed to catch Woods on the twisty downhill on the other side. But on the rolling uphill that then followed to the finish, Woods outsprinted Majka to the line.

"The last climb, it was real hard,” said Thomas, who was 10th, 20 seconds behind Woods. "Woodsy sort of kicked with 500 (metres) to go and I was close to the limit there, I didn't want to go all the way into the red.”

Majka, who rides for the Bora-Hansgrohe team, is now five seconds behind Woods.

Wilco Kelderman of the Sunweb team is third overall, 26 seconds behind Woods.

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With files from The Canadian Press

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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