Michael Woods took his first Tour de France stage victory as he out-climbed everybody on the steep percentages on Puy de Dôme. This is Israel – Premier Tech’s third Tour de France victory, after two wins last year.
“I’m so happy. Winning a stage in the Tour de France is something I’ve always wanted to do, and talked about doing, but is never something I’ve achieved and I finally did it today”, Woods said after his big win.
Knowing that today’s challenging mountain top finish suited him well, Woods was eager to get up the road and together with Canadian teammate Guillaume Boivin, he made sure to be attentive right from the start and join the action when a strong group got away.
Initially, the peloton put up a big fight but eventually, the break won the arm-wrestling contest and managed to distance the pack.
“The plan today was perfect”, Sports Manager Rik Verbrugghe explained. “We had different scenarios but the ideal was to have Mike and Guillaume in the breakaway, even if everyone could have been there. Today, it all worked out perfectly. I’m so proud of the guys.”
With about 45 km to go, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar Team), attacked from the breakaway and got a gap. With attacks going left and right, Woods ended up in a chase group further down and as they started on the final climb, Jorgenson was more than two minutes ahead.
However, Woods didn’t give up and dancing in the pedals, with a determined mind fixed on catching every rider in front of him, he began his assault on the stage win. One by one, he caught the riders ahead and with 500 meters to go, Jorgensen too was brought back and Woods went solo to win the stage.
“I knew it was going to be difficult to bring back Jorgensen, with him being so strong, but I didn’t really worry about that. I just focused on myself and wanted to go my hardest all the way to the top. It was only with 800 meters to go that I knew I had a shot because I saw him really starting to fade. I’m super happy with how it turned out.”
Team owner, Sylvan Adams, was at the team hotel, welcoming Woods as he returned. “I’m so happy for Mike, as this was the victory that was missing in his palmares. Mike showed us again that he is one of the best climbers in the world. It’s a great feeling to finish the first week of the Tour with a victory. There will be quite a nice celebration at the hotel tonight, and the rest day tomorrow will certainly be festive. And, we have two more weeks to hunt for more success. We won two stages last year. How nice would it be to exceed that lofty result? Due to my long personal relationship with Mike and the other Canadians on our team, I couldn’t be more proud. One of the best days ever for the team. Y’alla!”