Road To The Olympic Games

Svein Tuft, Mike Woods provide the Canadian content at 100th Giro D'Italia

The Giro D'Italia, one of the world's biggest cycling races, began on May 5 in Alghero, Italy, and finished its 13th stage on Friday. Canada is represented by two cyclists at the 100th edition of the race — Mike Woods and Svein Tuft.

Woods in 23rd, Tuft in 154th after 13 stages

Canadian cyclists Svein Tuft and Mike Woods are in Italy for the 100th Giro D'Italia, representing Canada at one of the biggest cycling events in the world. 1:00

The Giro D'Italia, one of the world's biggest cycling races, began on May 5 in Alghero, Italy, and finished its 13th stage on Friday. 

Canada is represented by two cyclists at the 100th edition of the race — Mike Woods and Svein Tuft.

But just who are these two athletes?

Mike Woods, 30, Ottawa

Mike "Rusty" Woods took an unconventional path to cycling — he started running.

An accomplished NCAA middle-distance runner, Woods began having injury problems, eventually suffering stress fractures in his foot, forcing him to retire from the sport he hoped to make his career. It wasn't until he turned 25 that Woods turned his focus to cycling.

After a year of training, he entered the Tour de Beauce at the age of 26, where he finished ninth overall.

In 2016 Woods competed in the Rio Olympics, finishing 55th out of 65 riders, but with 78 unable to even complete the gruelling course.

Last year, Woods was slated to race in the Giro d'Italia until he crashed in a race in Belgium, breaking three bones in his hand that prevented him from participating.

Svein Tuft, 40, Langley, B.C.

Although he turned 40 during this year's Giro D'Italia, Svein Tuft is still hanging with the pack.

Tuft began his competitive racing career in 1999, but has long held an affinity for biking.

At 15, Tuft dropped out of school to spend his time camping and mountain biking with his dog, Bear.The most notable trip was a trek to Alaska spanning more than 6,400 kilometres. During another expedition, Tuft was forced to use cooking utensils to fend off wolves that were attacking his campsite. 

Tuft also comes from an athletic bloodline; his grandfather, Arne, was a Norwegian Olympian in cross-country skiing.

He was selected to Team Canada for the 2008 Summer Olympics, finishing seventh in the individual time trial. In the 2014 Giro D'Italia, Tuft's team won the team time trial, and as the first finisher, he wore the pink shirt. Overall, Tuft is a two-time national road race champion, and a nine-team national time trial champion. His previous best finish at the Giro D'Italia was 125th place in 2010.

After Friday's stage, Woods is in 23rd place overall after two fifth-place finishes in stages six and eight. Tuft sits154th. 

The race, which has a total of 21 stages, is scheduled to end on May 28 in Milan. 

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