Canadian rider Michael Woods appears to take his biking to the following stage in 2022

Canadian rider Michael Woods appears to take his biking to the following stage in 2022

Canadian rider Michael Woods loved a banner 12 months in 2021, posting quite a few top-five finishes together with on the Tokyo Olympics and changing into solely the second Canadian to put on the polka-dot jersey as king of the mountains through the Tour de France.
Canadian rider Michael Woods loved a banner 12 months in 2021, posting quite a few top-five finishes together with on the Tokyo Olympics and changing into solely the second Canadian to put on the polka-dot jersey as king of the mountains through the Tour de France. 
The 35-year-old from Ottawa says he needs to take it to the following stage this 12 months with the Israel-Premier Tech staff, beforehand often known as Israel Begin-Up Nation. Quebec’s Premier Tech, which operates in 30 nations, has switched groups after sponsoring Astana.
Woods stated the Tokyo Olympic highway race has change into a significant motivation.
He led a portion of the 234-kilometre race and was concerned within the ultimate dash, however was unable to crack the highest three with Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz successful gold. Woods completed fifth.
“It was bittersweet. To have achieved so properly however not come again with a medal was disappointing but additionally exhilarating. It was so cool being within the entrance of the race,” Woods stated in an interview from Girona, Spain.
“I will eternally replicate on that race and consider what I might have achieved in another way to have gained,” he added. “I do know if I had performed my playing cards perhaps a bit in another way, there was a possibility to medal, if not win.”
The expertise has satisfied him to maintain going “a minimum of” till the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Woods additionally positioned fifth total finally 12 months’s Tour de Romandie, Tour de Suisse and Tour of Britain. He was second on the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var, fourth on the La Fleche Wallonne and fifth at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
“It (2021) was definitely my most profitable season of my profession, the perfect season of my profession,” Woods stated. “I am actually pleased with it. However on the similar time, it is left me hungry for extra. I felt like I used to be so shut on a number of events to only getting an enormous win.”
“So all these issues have motivated me. They’ve proven me I am able to being there. But additionally able to successful,” he added. “Now it is time for me to only really do this, put the bike over the road first. That is my goal for this 12 months.”
Woods has already gained one battle — recovering from COVID-19.
“Sadly my daughter got here again from daycare and took the entire Woods household down,” stated the daddy of two.
He stated the signs have been “fairly delicate.” 
“It being Omicron and likewise as a result of we’re all vaccinated, it did not hit us too onerous. I solely missed a couple of days of coaching … I took the allotted isolation interval and got here again and actually did not really feel that I misplaced an excessive amount of. The primary few days I wasn’t feeling nice however I really feel like I am coming again into the shape I used to be at the moment final 12 months”
Woods has his eye on a number of races in 2022.
“My massive purpose in biking is to win a Monument (race) or a worldwide championships. And I have not achieved that but,” Woods stated on the Israel-Premier Tech staff presentation Thursday in Girona “I’ve come shut.”
The Monuments are 5 basic one-day races: Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy. Woods is focusing on the Tour of Lombardy and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in addition to Spain’s Volta a Catalunya.
Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Amstel Gold Race and La Fleche Wallonne make up the Ardennes Basic, three prestigious one-day races in mid-April in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Woods additionally needs to make his mark on the Tour de France.
“My massive ambition is to attempt to win a (Tour) stage,” he stated.
He gained levels within the Spanish Vuelta in 2018 and 2020 and was runner-up at a stage within the 2018 Giro D’Italia. 
Woods completed third in Stage 8 of final 12 months’s Tour and joined Alex Stieda (in 1986) in sporting the polka-dot jersey through the race. 
He pulled out of the race after the 18th stage to present himself extra time for the journey to Tokyo. After the Video games, he arrived house simply 24 hours earlier than spouse Elly gave beginning to son Willy.
Woods subsequently gained the mountain classification within the Tour de Suisse.
Woods, beginning his second 12 months with Israel-Premier Tech, stated he realized lots using final 12 months with Eire’s Dan Martin, who has since retired, and expects to do the identical this 12 months with newly signed Danish rider Jakob Fuglsang.
Woods completed second on the 2018 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and fifth in 2019 when Fuglsang gained with Astana. He famous Canadian Ryder Hesjedal helped arrange Martin’s Liege win in 2013. Hesjedal, using for Garmin-Sharp, completed eighth that 12 months.
“I really feel like on the Classics, significantly now, if in case you have a two-pronged method, it makes an enormous distinction,” Woods stated. “With Jakob, I do know I can study a lot extra from him. He is an incredible rider. I’ve at all times liked watching him race.”
With Hugo Houle of Sainte-Perpetue, Que., approaching board, Israel-Premier Tech now boasts 5 Canadian riders with Ottawa’s Alexander Cataford and Montreal’s Guillaume Boivin and James Piccoli all returning.
Woods is happy about racing with Houle once more. The previous Astana rider has supported Woods twice on the Olympics in addition to the world championship.
“He is such an incredible man, such an incredible teammate he will actually assist carry everybody’s stage up. Now we’ve 5 Canadian riders within the (UCI) WorldTour on this staff, I believe we’re actually going to set the bar excessive and lead by instance. And when you’ve Canadians having success … on the highest stage, it conjures up others to do properly.”
Based in 2014 because the Israel Biking Academy, the staff is co-owned by Canadian-born Sylvan Adams, a former Canadian Masters biking champion who emigrated to Israel in 2015. Paulo Saldanha, the staff’s efficiency director, can be Canadian.
“These two are the rationale why I am a professional bicycle owner immediately,” Woods, a former middle-distance runner, stated of the help he obtained early in his biking profession from Adams and Saldanha.
“After I came visiting, they’d already created an surroundings for me to succeed. And actually attempt to put Canadian biking on the map. And with Premier Tech now approaching board, it actually does really feel like that is Canada’s staff. If you happen to’re a Canadian again house watching this staff, you’ve a staff to root for.”
Woods’ first outing is subsequent month’s Ruta del Sol, a five-stage race in Spain.

Comply with @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Jan. 13, 2022.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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