Vuelta a España: Michael Woods wins stage 7

Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling) won stage 7 of the Vuelta a España in Villanueva de Valdegovia, triumphing from the breakaway after jumping away to form a small lead group on the final ascent of the Puerto de Orduña and then beating his four companions with a late attack to the line.

The Canadian beat Omar Fraile (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to the line, sealing his second win of 2020 and his second at the Vuelta after his victory at Balcón de Bizkaia in 2018.

"It was a special day – amazing to be racing in the Basque Country," said Woods after the stage. "I got away with those four guys. They were riding super strong, and I felt bad that I couldn't pull through.

"With Valverde in the group I just couldn't pull through because we had Hugh Carthy in the peloton and I just couldn't give him any more time in the general classification. So, I was able to sit in a little bit. Then I had a bit of luck, I had the legs, and I got the win.

"I pencilled in a bit – initially I was supposed to be with Hugh and not in the break – but the race just got so crazy the group got so big, I had to go across to make sure that we had numbers in it. It paid off great for me. I'm going to savour this one and after that I'll start looking at the roadbook."

Woods was part of a large attack group which merged together with an earlier break on the first ascent of the Puerto de Orduña 60 kilometres into the stage. The group never enjoyed a large advantage on the peloton but stayed away to the second ascent of the climb, with the base 29 kilometres out.

His attack on the climb led to the establishment of a lead group on the descent, with Fraile, Valverde, Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) and Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) joining him, with the quintet holding off the break behind to contest the final kilometres among themselves.

The peloton crossed the line 56 seconds later after a quiet day for the general classification contenders. There were no attacks from the big names on the steep slopes of the Puerto de Orduña as the likes of Ineos Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma were happy to keep a lid on the action.

Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) retains the red jersey with an 18-second advantage over Hugh Carthy (EF Pro Cycling), while Martin takes over the lead of the mountain classification and will don the blue and white polka dot jersey as the race heads to La Rioja and the summit finish of the Alto de Moncalvillo on Wednesday.

How it unfolded

Stage 7 of the Vuelta a España saw the peloton head back to the hills of the Basque Country, this time a 160-kilometre run from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Villanueva de Valdegovia which featured two ascents of the Puerto de Orduña, a steep climb which returns to the Vuelta for only the second time since 1978.

Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was the first man to attack from the peloton but was unsuccessful after being caught by a chase group and then being swept up again. The opening 40 kilometres passed with no break establishing themselves, but a large group did manage to get away soon afterwards.

Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Magnus Cort (EF Pro Cycling), José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Michael Storer (Sunweb) and Alex Aranburu (Astana) were among the 16 men to get away, just before the first climb of the Puerto de Orduña, a climb once regarded as the toughest of the Basque Country.

The group hit the climb with a two-minute advantage on the peloton, but another group jumped from the peloton on the lower slopes of of the 7.8-kilometre climb which averaged 7.7 per cent with maximum of 14 per cent.

Woods, Fraile, Peters, Martin, George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) were among the 18 men to go on the move, with a group including Valverde, Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) and Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) chasing, too.

The groups merged up front midway up the climb, making it 36 men in the break of the day. Kuss led the way over the top to take 10 points and retake the mountain classification. He was joined by Peters and Martin in the move, but they were caught soon after as Ineos controlled the peloton.

Valverde, AG2R's Dorion Godon, and Lotto-Soudal rider Stan Dewulf jumped away from the break 60 kilometres from the line. The trio held a 30-second gap out front until Bennett, Wellens and Cort jumped across with 35 kilometres to run, dragging the remains of the break with them.

Meanwhile, the peloton lay two minutes in arrears, having never ceded more than three minutes to the break during the stage. Jumbo-Visma, Israel Start-Up Nation, Astana and Ineos were among the teams massing on the front on the run to the second and final ascent of the Puerto de Orduña, the top of which would come 19 kilometres from the finish line.

Godon stayed away from the break on the descent before the climb, carrying a 30-second lead onto the climb. The Frenchman was caught at the 25-kilometre mark, with two-thirds of the climb left, while back in the peloton the pace was upped by Ineos.

Woods jumped away three kilometres from the top after a period of attacks among the breakaway riders, with Peters setting off in pursuit a kilometre later and Valverde, Fraile and Martin joining him. Meanwhile, the Canadian crossed the summit a handful of seconds up on the four chasers and 1:55 ahead of the peloton. Martin led the chase group over to grab the mountain classification lead.

The quartet caught Woods on the descent with 15 kilometres to go, while the main break chased 30 seconds further back with the peloton 1:20 down. As the riders reached the final 10 kilometres, the attacks came up front, with Peters and Valverde both putting in digs. With five to go, they had just 20 seconds on the chasing group.

Fraile and Woods were off the front with three kilometres to run before Valverde led the group back across the gap, while the larger chase group still couldn't make up any ground on the quintet.

It was Woods who would later make the day's winning move, going solo from just outside the kilometre-to-go mark. Fraile led the chase, but the local man – hailing from 50 kilometres north near Bilbao – just didn't have enough to make it across, and was forced to settle for second, missing out on completing his Grand Tour stage win set.

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Full results
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling03:48:16
2Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:00:04
3Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team00:00:04
4Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:00:08
5Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis00:00:08
6Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates00:00:13
7Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:00:13
8Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe00:00:13
9Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo00:00:13
10Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates00:00:13
11Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott00:00:13
12Michael Storer (Aus) Team Sunweb00:00:13
13Thyman Arensman (Ned) Team Sunweb00:00:13
14George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:13
15Sepp Kuss (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:21
16Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Pro Cycling00:00:56
17Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:00:56
18Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates00:00:56
19Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:56
20Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis00:00:56
21Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers00:00:56
22José Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team00:00:56
23David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:00:56
24Georg Zimmermann (Ger) CCC Team00:00:56
25Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:00:56
26Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain McLaren00:00:56
27Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) Mitchelton-Scott00:00:56
28Clément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:00:56
29Stefan De Bod (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling00:00:56
30Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott00:00:56
31Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana Pro Team00:00:56
32Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:00:56
33Gino Mäder (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling00:00:56
34Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-Up Nation00:00:56
35Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:00:56
36Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe00:00:56
37Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team00:00:56
38David De la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) UAE Team Emirates00:00:56
39Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:00:56
40Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:00:56
41Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Pro Cycling00:00:56
42Jhojan Orlando Garcia Sosa (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:00:56
43Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team00:00:56
44Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:00:56
45Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:00:56
46Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team00:00:56
47Rob Power (Aus) Team Sunweb00:00:56
48Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) UAE Team Emirates00:00:56
49Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis00:00:56
50Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:00:56
51Oscar Cabedo Carda (Spa) Burgos-BH00:00:56
52Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:00:56
53Andrey Amador (CRc) Ineos Grenadiers00:00:56
54Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:56
55Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team00:00:56
56Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:00:56
57Hector Saez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:01:08
58Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale00:07:31
59Juan Pedro Lopez Perez (Spa) Trek-Segafredo00:07:31
60Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation00:07:31
61Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:07:54
62Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers00:07:54
63Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team Sunweb00:07:54
64Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo00:07:54
65Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis00:07:54
66Ivo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates00:07:54
67Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH00:08:50
68Jesus Ezquerra Muela (Spa) Burgos-BH00:08:50
69Willie Smit (RSA) Burgos-BH00:08:50
70Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:08:50
71Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott00:08:50
72Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:09:34
73Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:09:34
74Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:09:34
75Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:09:34
76Michael Valgren (Den) NTT Pro Cycling00:09:34
77Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team00:09:34
78Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team00:09:34
79Juan Felipe Osorio Arboleda (Col) Burgos-BH00:10:21
80Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:11:16
81Michel Ries (Lux) Trek-Segafredo00:11:16
82Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:11:16
83Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Lotto Soudal00:11:16
84Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team00:11:16
85Niki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie00:11:16
86Jetse Bol (Ned) Burgos-BH00:11:16
87Koen De Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo00:11:16
88Michal Paluta (Pol) CCC Team00:11:16
89Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ00:11:16
90Ricardo Vilela (Por) Burgos-BH00:11:16
91Pim Ligthart (Ned) Total Direct Energie00:11:16
92Robert Gesink (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:11:16
93Andreas Schillinger (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:11:16
94Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Astana Pro Team00:11:16
95Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma00:11:16
96Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling00:11:16
97Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:11:16
98Aritz Bagues Kalparsoro (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:11:16
99Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Ineos Grenadiers00:11:16
100Santiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain McLaren00:11:16
101William Barta (USA) CCC Team00:11:16
102Ian Garrison (USA) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:11:16
103Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:11:16
104Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Team00:11:16
105Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team00:11:16
106Harry Tanfield (GBr) AG2R la Mondiale00:11:16
107Paul Ourselin (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:11:16
108Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation00:11:16
109Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates00:11:16
110Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates00:11:16
111Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis00:11:16
112Alexis Renard (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation00:11:16
113Paul Martens (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma00:11:16
114Julien Simon (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:11:16
115Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team00:11:16
116Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Pro Cycling00:11:16
117Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Pro Cycling00:11:16
118Logan Owen (USA) EF Pro Cycling00:11:16
119Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott00:11:16
120Callum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott00:11:16
121Julen Amezqueta Moreno (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:11:16
122Rory Sutherland (Aus) Israel Start-Up Nation00:16:58
123Cameron Wurf (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers00:16:58
124Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain McLaren00:16:58
125Scott Davies (GBr) Bahrain McLaren00:16:58
126Michal Golas (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers00:16:58
127Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal00:16:58
128Alex Molenaar (Ned) Burgos-BH00:16:58
129Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA00:16:58
130Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis00:16:58
131Dion Smith (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott00:16:58
132Nicholas Dlamini (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling00:16:58
133Valentin Ferron (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:16:58
134James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation00:16:58
135Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation00:16:58
136Kevin Inkelaar (Ned) Bahrain McLaren00:16:58
137Enrico Gasparotto (Swi) NTT Pro Cycling00:16:58
138Benjamin Dyball (Aus) NTT Pro Cycling00:16:58
139Mark Donovan (GBr) Team Sunweb00:16:58
140Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:16:58
141Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Total Direct Energie00:16:58
142Emils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo00:16:58
143Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo00:16:58
144Chris Froome (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers00:16:58
145Julius Van den Berg (Ned) EF Pro Cycling00:16:58
146Stephen Williams (GBr) Bahrain McLaren00:16:58
147Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:16:58
148Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:16:58
149Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Start-Up Nation00:16:58
150Martin Laas (Est) Bora-Hansgrohe00:16:58
151Martin Salmon (Ger) Team Sunweb00:16:58
152Max Kanter (Ger) Team Sunweb00:16:58
153Carlos Barbero (Spa) NTT Pro Cycling00:16:58
154Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:16:58
155Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:16:58
156Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe00:16:58
157Sam Bennett (Irl) Deceuninck-Quickstep00:16:58
158Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott00:16:58
DNFJay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora-HansgroheRow 158 - Cell 2
DNFRomain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 159 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - Izarra, km. 117.3
PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale4
2Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal2
3Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team1
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PlaceRider (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Woods (Can) EF Pro Cycling25