Woods: “The Climb was a bit short”
“I will go even better when we will hit the Long climbs”
Unfortunately, this is not the NBA – overtime is not on the table, but it’s funny that MIKE WOODS, our star in today’s show, also wished for an extension. Sort of.
See, Mike is known to be one of the best racers in the business when it comes to steep, punishing climbs. Knowing that there would be almost seven kilometers of descent, and a flat stretch to finish it off, he threw all he had trying to get clear and drop his rivals on that last climb – especially Mathieu van der Poel – who he knew very well would be almost impossible to beat on those last flat kilometers.
World champion Julian Alaphilippe must have had the very same rationale, so what we saw was fierce attacks by both Woods and Alaphilippe, going back and forth between them. “Unfortunately,” said Woods later, “that climb was not long enough to distance him.”
Maybe the best part was that Woodsy was still fighting hard in the stretch that followed. However, it was no longer to his advantage (indeed, the wet conditions made it worse); But he was still able to put up a serious challenge, although van der Poel proved to be a superior force in the end.
Mike Woods: “I’m pretty pleased with how I felt today—definitely a step in the right direction.“After yesterday’s disappointment in the time trial, I wanted to make some inroads today, so that certainly was the case.
“It would have been nice to have been able to get some separation on some of the stronger finishers, like Cortina and Mathieu van der Poel, but the climb was a bit too short.
“But [I’ve got] many more days to come and many more opportunities to make some inroads in the GC and even go after that stage win, so I’m really looking forward to the bigger mountains.
ISN Media: A few words about that battle in the climb and the final, wet, kilometers? It was such fun for us to watch.
Woods: “It was quite hectic with the wet conditions. Very technical on the descents and very tricky going into that final climb, from a positioning perspective.
“But I managed to do a good job of getting myself into the right position. On that final climb, Alaphilippe clearly showed he was motivated, Carapaz also showed he was strong, same with Schachmann, but I felt like I’m on the same level as those three riders and I feel like I’ll even go better once we hit the longer climbs. “
ISN sports director Dirk Demol: “It was indeed a wow final. Mike did a great, fantastic job and he proved again that he’s a world-class rider, being present with the top riders there, and [he] finished it off with a nice sixth place. We had a plan to come here to help him with as much as we can, and we will continue and try to make it happen.”