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Route d'Occitanie: Michael Woods climbs to victory on stage 3 and takes GC lead

Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) won stage 3 of La Route d’Occitanie, kicking away from Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) on the mountaintop finish of Les Angles.

The duo broke free from a 12-rider group on the climb of Col de Hares, the fourth of five categorised climbs on the queen stage, Rodriguez leading the charge with 20km to go and Woods following. Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) tried to follow but could not stay on the wheels of the twosome.

Along the final 2.7 kilometres on the steep Balcère climb to Les Angles, seven riders battled to reach the front. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) accelerated in a final effort but was soon caught by Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) and as a pair they had a struggling Rodriguez in their sights with 500 metres to go. Finishing on second behind Rodriguez, Herrada surged across the line ahead of Valverde for the final podium spot.

Woods takes over the red leader’s jersey, taking 1:16 advantage over Rodriguez and another five seconds over Herrada into the final day of racing on Sunday. The Canadian also scooped up the points and climbing classification leads after the stage win.

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