Woods 'comes apart' in sight of Tour de France breakaway win

LE GRAND BORNAND FRANCE JULY 03 Michael Woods of Canada and Team Israel StartUp Nation in the Breakaway during the 108th Tour de France 2021 Stage 8 a 1508km stage from Oyonnax to Le GrandBornand LeTour TDF2021 on July 03 2021 in Le Grand Bornand France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Michael Woods of Israel Start-Up Nation launched a solo attack on penultimate climb of stage 8 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) came agonizingly close to the first Tour de France stage win of his career on Saturday, but was forced to wait another day and wonder what might have been.

The Canadian, whose general classification bid had already ended by earlier crashes, seemed on course to salvage success from his Tour when he hit the final climb of the Col de la Colombière more than a minute clear of his breakaway companions.

However, he faded dramatically on the upper reaches of the climb, the last of three category-1 ascents, ahead of the descent into Le Grand Bornand on stage 8.

“I just came apart in the last kilometre of that climb,” Woods said at the finish. 

His one-minute advantage was quickly eroded when Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) attacked from the chase and made his way across just under 2km from the summit. In that final kilometre, Teuns kicked again and Woods couldn’t follow.

As Teuns descended towards the stage win, Woods wound up in a trio with Ion Izaguirre (Astana-PremierTech) and Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), the Slovenian having launched a stunning attack from the GC group to move into the yellow jersey.

The trio crossed the line 49 seconds down on Teuns, with Woods taking the final spot on the podium behind Izaguirre.

“Today I went for it, I did everything I could,” Woods said. “I just came apart in the last kilometre of the climb. I Just wasn’t as strong as Dylan Teuns.

“It was tough to see it go but I gave everything I had. There was no juice left in the lemon.”

Woods was active all day, having been among the early attackers on the opening uncategorized climb. He was forced out of that short-lived move on the subsequent descent when he misjudged a bend and went off-road, managing not to crash.

After a frenetic opening 70 kilometres, a breakaway finally formed from the reduced front peloton, but Woods wasn’t in it to begin with. Ahead of the Côte de Mont-Saxonnex, the first of the three major ascents, he made a big effort to bridge across, which he feels may have cost him in the end.

“Maybe I burnt a bit too much energy trying to bridge across to the break, but I had to in order to get in there,” he said. 

“I thought it was possible. I felt comfortable on the descents. I just came apart. I didn’t have the legs.”

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