Canadian cyclist Mike Woods adds to overall lead at Tirreno-Adriatico race
Ottawa native secures 3rd-place finish in mountainous 4th stage
Canadian Michael Woods added to his overall lead in the Tirreno-Adriatico race with a third-place finish in the mountainous fourth stage Thursday.
Australian Lucas Hamilton comfortably won a two-man sprint over Italian Fausto Masnada to take the 194-kilometre stage through the hills of Umbria. Woods's third place earned the 33-year-old from Ottawa a five-second bonus to increase his overall lead to nine seconds.
"[A] really hard stage but the team was very strong. A difficult day, just like yesterday and probably tomorrow," said Woods, who claimed the lead by winning Stage 3 for the EF Pro Cycling team. "There are so many strong riders here, I am happy to keep the jersey another day."
Hamilton, who rides for the Mitchelton-Scott team, attacked on the high-speed descent to the finish and was quickly joined by Masnada.
Hamilton began his sprint 100 metres from the finish and easily beat Masnada.
"I tried to stay with the strongest riders on the final climb, then I was lucky I was with Masnada on the final attack," Hamilton said. "I could have not made it alone. It was a good day. Simon [Yates] remains the leader for the GC (general classification)."
Masnada crossed with the same time as Hamilton, then Woods finished 10 seconds behind to lead a small group of elite riders chasing overall victory.
In the overall standings, Woods leads Polish rider Rafal Majka, with Masnada third, 18 seconds back. Hamilton moved up to fourth overall, 27 seconds behind, while former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas dropped a couple spots to sixth, 34 seconds back.
While Thomas remained with the other overall favourites to the finish of the eight-day race, Ineos teammate Chris Froome — the four-time Tour de France champion — again struggled as he rides his way back into form.
Froome, who dropped behind on the gruelling climb to Forca di Gualdo, finished nearly 10 minutes behind.
Stage 5 on Friday is another climbing stage with an uphill finish to Sarnano Sassotetto.
The race, which was rearranged from March because of the coronavirus pandemic, ends Monday with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto that should favour Thomas.