Canadian wins Tirreno stage 3, moves into race lead
Mike Woods was all smiles as he pulled the Tirreno-Adriatico leaders jersey over his shoulders. He sprayed champagne from the top step of the podium. After a broken femur this spring at Paris-Nice, this very moment was something he spent months preparing his body (and mind) for.
Woods capitalized on strong teamwork at the perfect moment, and took an uphill sprint win that saw him move into the race lead.
“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 said. “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 said.
Woods bested Rafal Majka (Bora–Hansgrohe) in the final kilometer of the race after the pair rode clear atop the final ramp of the Poggio Murella. Woods leads the general classification by 5 seconds of Majka and by 26 seconds over Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb).
The last time Woods won a race it was also in Italy, at Milano-Torino. The roads and racing seem to suit the climber well. “I love Italy. It’s one of my favorite places in the world to race. The courses always suit me and they are super hard, super challenging, and I like that,” he said.
Woods is the first Canadian to have won a stage in the Tirreno-Adriatico, and thanks to Wood’s efforts, Canada is now the 25th nation to have seen victory in the race’s history. Woods is also the first Canadian to lead the Tirreno-Adriatico.
The team controlled the stage wonderfully, bringing the break back through strong riding on the front of the peloton, and then Tanel Kangert gummed up the chase that took after Woods after he attacked.
“Amazing work by my team, they really pulled a lot for me. Great teamwork and I finished it, I am very happy. Teamwork makes the dream work.” Woods said. “This victory is definitively a big step in my career, it’s the first time I’ve worn the leader’s jersey in a WorldTour race. I don’t think I am the favorite for the overall victory, because there is the final ITT and there are other riders stronger than me in time trials, but I will definitely defend the jersey and go on the attack again.”
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