This is for all the ISN fans, and especially the legions of MIKE WOODS fans, who are still feeling the painful sting of watching the best rider of the day miss out on such a deserved victory in the last few meters.
But tonight, writing this report, we are determined to not let this last bitter scene be what we remember most.
We would like to remember the most incredible scene of the day, just 20 minutes earlier, during the last few kilometers of the last of those still snow-covered majestic Swiss mountain passes. WOODSY suddenly going on the attack, escaping the GC group of fantastic climbers – going full gas but light as a feather. At that moment, it seemed as though nothing could hold him back, and, at the top – when he reached the summit all alone – it was picture-perfect.
That was Woods at his best, the rider who, since joining us at the beginning of the season, has become our brightest star. Full of confidence in himself, in his leadership, and his buddies. Today was such a great example of that as the whole team followed the plan to perfection. His fellow Canadians, Guillaume Boivin and James Piccoli made sure that the breakaway would stay under control and left it to Woods to do the rest in the last few kilometers of the climb.
Unfortunately, there were 15 kilometers left, mostly downhill, and although Woodsy was descending well, Swiss rider Gino Mäder (Team Bahrain Victorious) was able to catch up. The two went head-to-head in a duel to the finish.
That was where the “perfection” of this scene ended.
Explained Woods, “The plan was to open the sprint with 400 meters to go, and I followed the plan and went. But, in retrospect, of course, I opened the sprint too early.
“Although it was a good day overall, I’m disappointed with second place.
“I wanted to win, especially off the back of all the great teamwork, to reward everybody, but otherwise, it was a good week. I think I’m in a really good spot right now.”
ISN’s sports director Dirk Demol agreed:
“What an excellent rider he is, always willing to take the initiative and attack. He did it the whole race, with the team backing him up. Look at his results: second and third in stages, fifth overall, and the king of the mountain jersey! I am proud of Mike, and I am proud of the boys.”