Woods wins Milano-Torino


Michael Woods (EF Education First) won Milano-Torino after he outkicked Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) atop Superga, with Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) taking third.

The Canadian simply rode Valverde off his wheel with 400 metres remaining and held on to land the first one-day victory of his career, laying down a marker for Saturday's Il Lombardia in the process. Yates came home five seconds down, just ahead of Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), whose full and frank exchange of accelerations with Woods had so animated the final ascent of Superga.

"Any time you can beat Valverde is a special time. I was fortunate to have a very strong team today," Woods said afterwards. "I maybe attacked a bit too much but I wanted to be offensive and I am glad it worked out."

Come the final ramps of the climb, only six riders remained in contention to win Italy's most venerable classic, and when a flagging Gaudu finally gave best with 500 metres to go, Woods took up the reins at the head of the race. Valverde, the man who beat him to the rainbow jersey in Innsbruck a year ago, was tucked onto his wheel, and Woods was surely mindful of the need to rid himself of the Spaniard before the gradient eased on the approach to the line.

By that point, however, Woods had already launched a volley of attacks, having ignited the race with a stinging effort with 4km to go, and then engaged in a wholehearted duel with Gaudu. Their gripping tête-à-tête persisted even when Valverde, Yates, Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) and Egan Bernal (Ineos) managed to claw their way back up to them inside the final two kilometres.

Yet despite those repeated exertions, Woods somehow conjured up the strength to launch one final, steady acceleration with 400 metres to go, and that searing effort proved too much for Valverde, who was unable to hold his wheel and allowed a decisive gap to open. Although Valverde closed once again within sight of the line, he was unable to come around Woods.

At the end of his first season at WorldTour level in 2016, Woods had left a calling card at Milano-Torino when he placed second behind Miguel Angel Lopez and the Canadian demonstrated the distance he has run since with a confident victory in the shadow of the Basilica di Superga above Turin.

How it unfolded

First held in 1876, Milano-Torino has long succeeded in respecting its history without being beholden to it. For over a century, the event took place in March as a warm-up to Milan-San Remo, before switching to a slot in the build-up to Il Lombardia in 1987. After briefly returning to its March date in the early part of the 21st century, it endured a four-year hiatus at the turn of the decade, but it has thrived since its return in 2012, when the percorso was tweaked to place the finish line atop the climb of Superga, site of the 1949 air disaster that killed 31 people, including the great Torino team that dominated Italian football in the era.

Alberto Contador won the rebooted edition in 2012, and in the intervening period, the climb to Superga has continued to define the race, with Lopez, Rigoberto Uran and Thibaut Pinot all emerging victorious on the hilltop overlooking Turin.

It was evident, then, that the finishing circuit and its twin ascents of Superga would again decide the race, meaning that the gruppo was content to let a break go almost immediately after the start in Magenta. Beneath low cloud and amid constant drizzle, Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Nicolas Dalla Valle (UAE Team Emirates), Joan Bou (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Daniel Savini (Bardiani-CSF) and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) forged clear, amasing a maximum advantage just shy of five minutes.

They still had a little over a minute in hand when they tackled the first of two ascents of Superga with 25km remaining, though by now, the rain had mercifully abated. Cavagna's forceful attack at the base of the climb shattered the group of escapees, but the Frenchman's lone effort was to be a forlorn one, with Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) now setting a brisk tempo at the head of the bunch on behalf of Bernal.

Geoghegan Hart's pace-making had the twin effect of reeling in Cavagna and whittling the peloton down to just 40 or so riders as the race entered the final 19km, and the Briton continued to lead down the descent that followed. Once the road flattened out, Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) attempted to break clear, but the Belgian's effort was nullified as Astana and EF Education First – with US champion Alex Howes prominent – wound up the pace in the peloton.

Once the second and final ascent of Superga began, Woods immediately looked to wrest control of proceedings when he attacked with a little under 4km to go. Only Gorka Izagirre (Astana) and Haig could follow that initial acceleration, though Gaudu began to bridge across a little over a kilometre later.

Mindful of the threat posed by the Frenchman, Woods accelerated just as he was closing in, and this duo would lead much of the way up the climb. Yates, Bernal and Valverde worked to claw their way back into contention, though it was only when Haig dropped back and put in a long shift on the front that they succeed in doing so.

Woods and Gaudu seemed unperturbed by their lofty company. The Canadian kicked again with 1800 metres to go, before Gaudu launched no fewer than four efforts, with Woods the first to respond on each occasion.

Valverde, Bernal and Yates, though slower to respond, were never shaken loose, and the front group briefly swelled to 7 riders in the final kilometre when Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) made contact.

Gaudu finally punched himself out with 500 metres remaining. Woods, meanwhile, was still standing and still had the force to land the decisive blow.


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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Woods (Can) Ef Education First 4:03:48
2Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
3Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton - Scott 0:00:05
4Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:10
5David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama - Fdj
6Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Team Ineos
7Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek - Segafredo 0:00:23
8Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:33
9Kevin Rivera Serrano (CRc) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
10Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Deceuninck - Quick - Step 0:00:38
11Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team
12Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott
13Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:40
14Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora - Hansgrohe
15Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team
16Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek - Segafredo
17Victor De La Parte (Spa) Ccc Team 0:00:43
18Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe 0:00:46
19Marc Hirschi (Swi) Team Sunweb 0:00:59
20Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Ineos 0:01:11
21Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek - Segafredo
22Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama - Fdj
23Simon Geschke (Ger) Ccc Team 0:01:22
24Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe
25Rui Costa (Por) Uae Team Emirates 0:01:34
26Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:36
27Steff Cras (Bel) Team Katusha Alpecin
28Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
29Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Ccc Team
30Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain - Merida 0:01:42
31Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) Uae Team Emirates
32Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Biesse Carrera 0:01:44
33Peter Stetina (USA) Trek - Segafredo 0:01:45
34Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick - Step 0:02:00
35Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm 0:02:20
36Tanel Kangert (Est) Ef Education First
37Gino Mäder (Swi) Team Dimension Data 0:02:35
38Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:06
39Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team
40Simone Petilli (Ita) Uae Team Emirates 0:03:24
41Davide Gabburo (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm 0:03:50
42Rob Power (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:04:04
43Mattia Bais (Ita) Cycling Team Friuli Asd 0:04:56
44Sebastian Schonberger (Aut) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm 0:05:05
45Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic 0:05:23
46Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal 0:05:26
47Danilo Wyss (Swi) Team Dimension Data 0:05:48
48Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama - Fdj
49Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton - Scott
50Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani Csf
51Jeremy Maison (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
52Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) Ef Education First
53Daniel Munoz Giraldo (Col) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
54Alex Howes (USA) Ef Education First
55Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Ccc Team
56Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama - Fdj 0:06:29
57Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:07:16
58Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team
59Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Ccc Team
60Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott 0:07:56
61Domen Novak (Slo) Bahrain - Merida
62Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Ineos 0:08:02
63Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain - Merida 0:08:33
64Davide Martinelli (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
65Aurelien Doleatto (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
66Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:09:03
67Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Ccc Team
68Rory Sutherland (Aus) Uae Team Emirates 0:09:06
69Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team Katusha Alpecin 0:09:11
70Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Team Katusha Alpecin 0:09:15
71Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani Csf
72Romain Hardy (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
73Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Team Katusha Alpecin
74Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) Ef Education First
75Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe
76Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha Alpecin
77Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Team Dimension Data
78Remi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
79Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm 0:09:47
80Filippo Zaccanti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
81Roberto González (Pan) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm 0:11:35
82Jaime Castrillo Zapater (Spa) Movistar Team 0:13:10
83Amael Moinard (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
84Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team
85Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm
86Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain - Merida
87Jaco Venter (RSA) Team Dimension Data
88Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Bahrain - Merida 0:13:46
89Joan Bou Company (Spa) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane' 0:15:10
DNSGrega Bole (Slo) Bahrain - Merida
DNSBrent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFMads Pedersen (Den) Trek - Segafredo
DNFJulien Bernard (Fra) Trek - Segafredo
DNFNiklas Eg (Den) Trek - Segafredo
DNFMattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
DNFMiguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
DNFYevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
DNFIvan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain - Merida
DNFEnrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani Csf
DNFUmberto Orsini (Ita) Bardiani Csf
DNFFrancesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani Csf
DNFLorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani Csf
DNFDaniel Savini (Ita) Bardiani Csf
DNFGregor Muhlberger (Aut) Bora - Hansgrohe
DNFJuraj Sagan (Svk) Bora - Hansgrohe
DNFMaximilian Schachmann (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe
DNFSerge Pauwels (Bel) Ccc Team
DNFEros Capecchi (Ita) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
DNFBob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
DNFJames Knox (GBr) Deceuninck - Quick - Step
DNFNathan Brown (USA) Ef Education First
DNFLachlan Morton (Aus) Ef Education First
DNFWilliam Bonnet (Fra) Groupama - Fdj
DNFSteve Morabito (Swi) Groupama - Fdj
DNFAnthony Roux (Fra) Groupama - Fdj
DNFTim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFRemy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFJelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
DNFEdoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton - Scott
DNFBrent Bookwalter (USA) Mitchelton - Scott
DNFNicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton - Scott
DNFMikel Landa Meana (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFJasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
DNFSimone Velasco (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm
DNFRuben Dario Acosta Ospina (Col) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
DNFNicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
DNFMarco Canola (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
DNFHideto Nakane (Jpn) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
DNFAlejandro Osorio Carvajal (Col) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
DNFWarren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
DNFRomain Le Roux (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
DNFRoman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Dimension Data
DNFEnrico Gasparotto (Swi) Team Dimension Data
DNFReinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Dimension Data
DNFNicolas Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Ineos
DNFEdward Dunbar (Irl) Team Ineos
DNFFilippo Ganna (Ita) Team Ineos
DNFIvan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Team Ineos
DNFJuri Hollmann (Ger) Heizomat Rad - Net.De
DNFIlnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha Alpecin
DNFJai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNFJohannes Frohlinger (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFChristopher Hamilton (Aus) Team Sunweb
DNFMartin Alexander Salmon (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFManuele Mori (Ita) Uae Team Emirates
DNFNicolas Dalla Valle (Ita) Tirol Ktm Cycling Team
DNFIvo Oliveira (Por) Uae Team Emirates

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