Canadian Michael Woods on Tuesday timed his move to perfection to win the seventh stage of the Vuelta a Espana, as Richard Carapaz retained the overall lead.
Woods came out on top by four seconds after a tense finish involving five riders in northern Spain and claimed his second stage victory at the event.
The 34-year-old finished alone, ahead of the Spanish duo of Team Astana rider Omar Fraile, who was second, and Team Movistar rider Alejandro Valverde in third, while France’s Nans Peters and Guillaume Martin were fourth and fifth respectively.
“It was a special day and amazing to be racing in the Basque country,” said Woods of Team Education First Pro Cycling. “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,” Woods said. “Then I had a bit of luck, I had the legs and I got the win.”
His teammate, Hugh Carthy, sits second in the overall classification, 18 seconds behind Carapaz of Team Ineos.
Ireland’s Daniel Martin is an additional two seconds back in third.
The riders were faced with a 159.7km stage from Vitoria to Villanueva de Valdegovia, with two ascents of the category 1 Puerto de Orduna.
On the first of the day’s two climbs a 37-rider breakaway formed.
Team AG2R La Mondiale rider Dorian Godon pulled away on the second climb, but was caught with 25km left by the chasing group, led by Team Movistar.
Woods was the next to burst away, with Peters and Alejandro Valverde the closest to him.
Valverde launched a break with 6km left, but could not get a significant advantage.
In the final kilometer, Woods surged downhill, holding off Fraile to celebrate an impressive solo win.
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