Sat, 31 Jul 2021

Canadian Michael Woods timed his move to perfection on Tuesday to win the seventh stage at la Vuelta, as Richard Carapaz retained the overall lead.

Woods came out on top by four seconds after a tense finish involving five riders in northern Spain and claimed his second stage victory in the event.

The 34-year-old finished alone, ahead of the Spanish duo of Omar Fraile (Astana), who was second, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in third, while it was France's Nans Peters and Guillaume Martin in fourth and fifth respectively.

"It was a special day and amazing to be racing in the Basque Country," said Woods of EF Pro Cycling.

"I got away with those four guys, they were riding super strong, and I felt bad that I couldn't pull through. With Valverde in the group I just couldn't pull through because we had Hugh Carthy in the peloton and I just couldn't give him any more time in the general classification.

"So I was able to sit in a little bit. Then I had a bit of luck, I had the legs, and I got the win."

Woods, who will move to Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021, broke his leg early this year but came back strongly by winning a stage at Tirreno-Adriatico in September and continued his revival in Spain.

His teammate Hugh Carthy sits second in the overall classification, 18 seconds behind Carapaz of Ineos. Ireland's Daniel Martin is two seconds further back in third.

After the rest day on Monday, the biggest plus was that no riders tested positive for coronavirus meaning 163 resumed.

They were faced with a 159.7-km stage from Vitoria to Villanueva de Valdegovia just south of Bilbao, with two ascents of the Category 1 Puerto de Orduna.

Frenchman Remi Cavagna made an early attack with Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo), Tosh van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Energie) and Hector Saez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) in hot pursuit.

They were reeled in and on the first of the day's two climbs a 37-man breakaway formed.

A nasty crash put Jay McCarthy out of the race. He had to be carried off on a stretcher after being diverted into a nearby field.

Dorian Godon (Ag2R-La Mondiale), who won Paris-Camembert a few weeks ago, pulled away on the second climb but was caught with 25km left by the chasing group, led by Movistar.

Woods was the next to burst away, with Peters and Alejandro Valverde the closest to him. Guillaume Martin and Omar Fraile were in contention too.

Valverde launched a break with 6km left but could not get a significant advantage. In the final kilometre, Woods surged downhill, holding off Fraile to celebrate an impressive solo win.

1. Michael Woods (CAN/EF1) 3hrs 48mins 16sec, 2. Omar Fraile (ESP/AST) at 4 secs, 3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) same time, 4. Nans Peters (FRA/ALM) 8, 5. Guillaume Martin (FRA/COF) s.t., 6. Rui Costa (POR/UAD) 13, 7. Alex Aranburu (ESP/AST) s.t., 8. Ide Schelling (NED/BOH) s.t., 9. Kenny Elissonde (FRA/TFS) s.t., 10. Davide Formolo (ITA/UAD) s.t.

Source: News24

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