Michael Woods wins 2022 Route d'Occitanie

Niccolo Bonifazio (TotalEnergies) catapulted along the left side barriers in a small opening next to Elia Viviani (Ineos Grenadiers) and won the fourth and final stage of La Route d’Occitanie on Sunday. 

Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech), who took the GC lead with the stage 3 win on Saturday, finished in the bunch sprint to win the overall title.

"This is the first stage race I have won in my career. I’m really happy with the result and really pleased with the teamwork," Woods said.

From the small bunch that survived cross-winds throughout stage 4, Max Kanter (Movistar) took second and Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) was third, just edging Viviani.

Two of the three categorised climbs came early in the 188.3km final stage, with the final half rolling to the finish circuit in Auterive, the cross-wind playing a role to disrupt proceedings. The peloton split into several groups with 70 km to go, Woods was part of a select group of about 27 riders that survived at the front.

"I always felt protected. We had Cole [Kessler] riding at the front at the start of the race and then Guy [Sagiv] and Taj [Jones] did an amazing job putting me in position in the crosswind. Carl [Fredrik Hagen] did great to be in that small group at the end and just help me and be with me for the rest of the race," Woods recounted about the windy day. "I’m really happy and I’m really excited for the Tour de France now.”

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