Player's Own Voice

Player's Own Voice podcast: Michael Woods in Tokyo

The Player's Own Voice podcast is dropping new episodes all through Tokyo 2020. Today's guest is Cyclist Michael Woods — surprisingly fresh off his excellent fifth-place finish in the road race.

Canadian racer missed out on a silver medal by mere hundredths of a second

Canada's Michael Woods leads the pack in the climbing section of the men's cycling road race at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. (Tim de Waele - Pool/The Associated Press)

When it comes to bike racing, the biggest compliment your peers can pay you is when they say you stay on your wheel at all times.

If you aren't a threat to win, nobody needs to chase when you try to ride off the front of the Peloton. So coming intro the Olympic road race, Ottawa's Michael Woods had an excellent strategy in place: keep an eye on the winner of the last two Tours De France, Tadej Pogacar, and do his best to chase Belgian climber and sprinter, Wout Van Aert.

Trouble is — guess who those two professional beasts were following most closely in the field of 100 racers? 

The pack has wised up to the fact that when conditions are hot, wet or windy, the climbs are relentless, and the distances are greater than 200 kilometres, Michael 'Rusty' Woods is the man to beat.

He is too modest to say so on the Player's Own Voice podcast, recorded today in the Olympic Village, but Woods played his cards perfectly Saturday.

He was super aggressive on Mount Fuji, climbing to the front of the field, but the world's best riders were nervously marking his every move.

Woods' fifth-place finish is a deceptively good result. In a six hour race, he was boxed out of a silver medal by mere hundredths of a second.

The Canadian gets the last laugh though. While the rest of the cyclists were off to yet another dreary ice bath, Woods was hopping on a plane home to Andorra, where he and his wife Elly are expecting a little brother for their toddler daughter any second now.

Player's Own Voice will be working straight through the Tokyo Olympics, dropping episodes every day or two. Intimate conversations with athletes at the pinnacle of their careers.

Like the CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series, POV podcast lets athletes speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective. To listen to the entire fourth season, subscribe for free on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you do your other podcast listening.

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