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Interview with Michael Woods at the Giro on Rest Day 3

by John Symon

May 22, 2017 (Boario Terme, ITA) – Canadian Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) has had some stellar results at his debut Giro d’Italia, placing fifth on Stages 6 and 8. He was on the podium as well with his team following Stage 5 as the top squad. He currently sits in 30th overall says he’s feeling good overall despite a recent unfortunate crash.

Michael Woods  ©  Cor Vos

Woods came into the Giro with some standout performances claiming second at the GP Miguel Indurain and 9th at the 258km Liège-Bastogne-Liège, only seven seconds behind winner Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar. He also was 11th at this year’s La Flèche Wallonne and is the top Canadian male road rider ranked 111th in the 2017 UCI standings.

Michael Woods  ©  Cor Vos
Woods, 30, is from the Ottawa area and was previously a notable track runner before injuries forced him onto a bike instead. Since 2013 he has ridden for the following teams: Garneau-Québecor, Amore & Vita–Selle SMP; Hour Energy; Optum–Kelly Benefit Strategies; and finally, WorldTour team Cannondale since early 2016. We caught with him during the third Rest Day at the Giro…

How are you feeling after 2 weeks of steady riding at the Giro ?
Michael Woods: I am feeling pretty good. Now that we are in the mountains, I seem to be suffering less from allergies.  Also my energy levels are high, and I am really looking forward to what will most likely be the hardest week of racing.  I did have a spill yesterday, so my back is a bit sore, but otherwise all is good.

Team Cannondale Drapac wins Best Team after Stage 5  ©  Cor Vos
What are your impressions of riding at your first Grand Tour – is it what you expected ?
MW: Pretty much. I had been warned by a ton of pros about how hard grand tours can be mentally and physically, and all that has been true.  Especially now, knowing that the third week is going to be much harder than the first two weeks, dealing with the scale of the race has been pretty challenging.  Also all of the little things; coughs, saddle sores, weird sensations from consistently pushing your body to its limit can be draining.  The one thing I have really been enjoying though is how much Italians love this race.  The crowds are massive, and the level of respect and attention that we receive really makes you feel like a pro.

You’ve had some impressive results finishing 5th twice – that has to feel good. Better than you hoped for ?
MW: Yeah I was very happy with these performances, however I am also a bit frustrated with them.  In both scenarios, had we managed to catch the break I think I would have been able to win, or at least finish on the podium.  These two near misses, combined with getting in caught up in two consecutive crashes in the final kilometres of the last two stages are having me feeling a bit frustrated with my luck.

Michael Woods  ©  Cor Vos

Highs at the Tour – and lows ?
MW: I think the biggest high so far has been riding up the finishing stretches of these races and seeing the number of people in attendance; it is insane.  As for the low, it would have to be the crash I had yesterday.  It was not a bad one, and I am fine, but it is never fun going down.

Any advice for young riders hoping to follow in your footsteps?
MW: Have fun

What’s your favourite Italian food?
MW: Pizza

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