Cannondale-Drapac’s Mike Woods earned his first podium of the season at Gran Premio Miguel Indurain on Saturday. The Canadian was part of a nine-rider late race selection that formed in the final 20 kilometers of the undulating race. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) took the win before Woods led home the first chasers at 24 seconds.
“I’m really happy with the performance,” said Woods. “I’m really happy with the result. Obviously we wanted the win today, but Simon Yates rode a really courageous race. He deserved the win.”
Woods said the 186 kilometer one-day Basque race unfolded as expected. There was an early breakaway that was caught within the opening hour of racing and a second move that stayed away until the 50 kilometer mark. From there it was constant attacks that whittled down the peloton until Woods and company forced their way clear.
“[Sport director] Juanma Garate is so dialed with these races,” said Woods. “He’s from the area. He knows the roads. He knows the riders. And he does a lot of research. He called the race prior to the race in a lot of ways, and he made a lot of good decisions on our behalf. We knew what to expect because Juanma prepared us so well.
“Throughout the day, all the guys on the team were super focused and really well-positioned,” Woods added. “It was a real confidence boost when there were 35-40 guys left and we had seven riders there. It’s a good indicator for the week to come.”
Woods had a consistent showing at Volta a Catalunya late last month. He rode to ninth place up La Molina and finished in 12th place on the queen stage to Tortosa. His performance in Estella on Saturday underscores the momentum he’s building.
“I’ve had a couple seconds now, so in some ways, I’m a bit ticked I didn’t get the win today,” admitted Woods. “I know I didn’t have the best start to the season, the start I wanted, but now I’m gaining momentum and my results are showing some consistency. I really want to get a win, and I think I can.
“The big target on my calendar this year is the Ardennes and a Grand Tour,” said Woods. “I think things are moving well in the right direction – and not just for me but for the team.”
Woods is part of the #GreenArgyle Vuelta al País Vasco squad. The six-day stage race begins on Monday.
Feature image is from Cor Vos out of Catalunya stage three.