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Mike Woods takes stage 7 at La Vuelta
Canadian rider times perfect attack in final stages to take the win
Mike Woods rode his way to a solo victory after a perfectly timed attack in the closing stages of stage 7 of the Vuelta a España. This is the Canadian’s second career stage victory at the Vuelta.
If week one told us anything about how this year’s Vuelta was going to be raced, it’s that it was going to be a fast and furious race. Cold weather, strong winds, heavy rain, tough mountain top finishes and a seemingly endless barrage of attacks made the first week enthralling to watch.
One day after the rest day, yet another hard stage lay ahead for the peloton who had to tackle the Puerto de Orduña, a category one climb, twice. The 160km stage from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Villanueva de Valdegovia in the Basque Country in the Northern regions of Spain, got off to a fast and furious start. The stage profile favored a strong breakaway, which meant that it took time for the break to settle. But with just under 100km to go, a large breakaway formed at the front involving around 35 riders from a host of teams.
Mike Woods and Magnus Cort were the two riders representing EF Pro Cycling in the front group, which never managed to build a sizable gap over a peloton. But as the kilometers ticked by, it seemed more and more plausible that the breakaway might make it to the line.
It was on the second ascent of the Puerto de Orduña that Mike Woods decided to launch his move. After riding solo for much of the climb, the Canadian was joined by four other riders, Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Omar Fraile (Astana), and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) near the top of the climb.
With around five kilometers to go, the quintet was still riding strong together, but with a charging bunch of riders closing in behind, attacks started to fly out of the group. It was with just over one kilometer to go that Woods launched his decisive attack which would see him cross the line solo.
The smile said it all at the line said it all, and so did the embrace from Hugh Carthy. What a ride. What a race.
Hear from the team below
Mike Woods, Rider
That was a special day, it’s always amazing racing in the Basque Country. I got away with those four other guys and they were riding super strong. I felt bad that I couldn’t pull through, but with Valverde, I just couldn’t pull through because we had Hugh Carthy in the peloton and we didn’t want to give him any more time in the classification. So, I was able to sit in a bit and then I had a bit of luck, I had the legs and I just took the win.
I had penciled in this stage a bit, but initially I wasn’t meant to get in the breakaway I was meant to be with Hugh, however the race just got so crazy and the group got so big I had to go across to make sure we had numbers in it and it paid off great for me.
I’m going to savor this stage win and after that I’ll start looking at the race book after.
Magnus Cort, Rider
It’s really, really good to get the win! He was so close on the last stage that the fact that he was able to do it today is unbelievable. I think his form here has been improving during the week, I was actually surprised because as you said it was a bit hard out there and everyone was on his limit. When I got back into the peloton from being in the break, I could see how hard the stage had been, sometimes you don’t really know, if you’ve been in the break, how hard the stage has been, but once I was back there seeing the faces there weren’t many guys there who had great legs left.
The atmosphere is great in the team at the moment. Going forward things will be a bit like today in that we have our chances, but obviously the closer we get to the finish, and depending on where Hugh is, we will be really supporting him.