Former Canadian track star Michael Woods wins Tour de France stage

Michael Woods

Michael woods, 36, of Toronto had the best day of his cycling career Sunday, winning the ninth stage of the Tour de France. The sub-four-minute miler sat patiently behind leader Matteo Jorgenson of the Movistar team, who led the stage for 47 km, taking advantage of Jorgenson’s flagging energy only 400m from the top of the mythical Puy de Dôme and surging ahead for the stage win. Woods, a former 1,500m runner and Canadian record holder, rides for the Israel–Premier Tech team.

Woods and Jorgenson were part of an early breakaway of 14 riders that also included stage nine runner-up Pierre Latour of France and third-place finisher Matej Mohoric of Slovenia.

Originally from Ottawa, Woods has held the Canadian U20 mile record (3:57.48) and U20 3,000m record (7:58.04) since 2005. He was a multi-year national champion in running and won gold at the Pan American Junior Championships during his early years. Woods ran at the University of Michigan, but transitioned from running to cycling after repeated foot injuries brought a halt to his running career; he went pro as a cyclist in 2013 and made the Canadian Olympic team for Rio in 2016. He also competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, finishing fifth in the men’s individual road race.

Michael Woods is making his Tour de France debut

In 2018, Woods won a stage in the Vuelta a España; like Sunday’s Tour stage win, it was at the culmination of a steep climb. He first competed in the Tour de France in 2019 (the first Canadian to compete in the Tour since 2016), riding for the US-based EF Education First team and finishing 32nd overall. He did not finish in 2021 or 2022, so Sunday’s stage victory represents a massive success for the Canadian.

2022 winner Jonas Vingegaard of Team Jumbo-Visma retains the yellow jersey but lost about eight seconds to the Slovenian superstar Tadej Pogacar.

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