Road To The Olympic Games

Cycling

Canada's Mike Woods wins Stage 3 of Tirreno, takes overall lead at Italian race

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

33-year-old racing cyclist left behind rivals in sprint to finish

Canada's Mike Woods crosses the finish line to win the 3rd stage of the 55th edition of the Tirreno Adriatico cycling race. (Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse via Associated Press )

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

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.

Woods left behind rivals including 2018 Tour champion Geraint Thomas on the 20% 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 [meters/yards] to go and I was close to the limit there, I didn't want to go all the way into the red."

The 217-kilometre (135-mile) stage started in Follonica.

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.

Woods, a bronze medallist at the 2018 worlds, and Tour de France rider Hugo Houle will lead Canada at the 2020 UCI Road World Championships. Houle, from Sainte-Perpetue, Que., is currently racing for the Astana Pro Team in the Tour de France.

The competition, scheduled for Sept. 24-27, has been moved to Imola, Italy, from Aigle-Martigny, Switzerland, and will only include road and time trial events for elite women and men.

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