Mike Woods achieves rare Canadian cycling feat at road race worlds


Mike Woods, the second Canadian to win a Spanish Vuelta stage earlier this month, became the country’s first cyclist to reach the podium at the road race world championships in 34 years with a third-place finish on Sunday in Innsbruck, Austria.

In 1984, Canada’s Steve Bauer won a bronze medal at the road world championship in Spain, just a few weeks after he captured the country’s first Olympic medal in road cycling at Los Angeles.

« My ears were ringing because the people were so loud and I could hear their cow bells, » said Woods, an Ottawa native. « Even before the race, I told myself I’d try to get inspiration and energy from what the fans bring to the race. There were so many fans today. »

The 31-year-old led Sunday’s race with less than 10 kilometres remaining before bowing to Spain’s Alejandro Valverde, who sprinted to his first world title after a grueling race of six hours 46 minutes through the Austrian Alps.

Valverde led a group of four in the final kilometre, including Woods, and just remained ahead in the sprint, with Romain Bardet of France taking the silver.

From left, Ottawa native Michael Woods, winner Alejandro Valverde of Spain and Romain Bardet of France battle to the finish in the men’s elite road road race in Austria. (Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday’s victory came 15 years after Valverde won silver in Hamilton, a feat he repeated in 2005 in Madrid.

« This is the greatest day of my career. It means everything to me to take this victory, » the 38-year-old Valverde said through an interpreter after becoming the first Spanish world champion since Oscar Freire won the title in 2004.

Sunday’s title came a year after he suffered a fractured kneecap in a fall in the Tour de France, forcing him to end his 2017 season prematurely.

Valverde, who served a doping suspension earlier in his career, positioned himself for the win when he went ahead of the pack together with Bardet and Woods for the final five kilometres.

He is planning to retire following the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

2nd at Liè​ge-Bastogne-Liè​ge

Also representing Canada in Sunday’s race were Rob Britton (Rally Cycling), reigning national road race champion Antoine Duchesne (Groupama-FDJ) and Hugo Houle (Astana).

Woods, who rides for the EF Education First-Drapac, or Cannondale-Drapac, was second in the prestigious Liè​ge-Bastogne-Liè​ge one-day race in April, the first Canadian to reach the podium at the event.

In May, he was also runner-up on Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia and ended up 19th after being slowed by illness.

Woods, who makes his home in Spain these days, is a former elite distance runner at the University of Michigan.

He switched to cycling after a recurrent stress fracture in his foot and turned heads early in the 2016 season with a fifth-place finish in his first road race as a World Tour pro at the Tour Down Under in Australia.


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Residents of Arlington Woods building in good spirits despite 3rd day without power


While most Ottawa residents have their power back Monday, there is still a pocket of residences in the Arlington Woods area that are without electricity.

The Arlington at 33 Banner Rd. is one such residence, and while power is still several hours away, according to Hydro Ottawa, neighbours can be seen outside together, enjoying the post-tornado sunshine.

WATCH: Power restored to 100K customers after Ottawa tornado

The building houses a total of 229 units, many of which have been occupied by people who have been there a long time, including Shelagh O’Gorman.

According to O’Gorman, a lot of the residents have known each other for a while, but this event has served to bring the community closer together.

“We’ve received so many food and donations from so many people,” said O’Gorman. “People have been out and talking with each other, and there are some residents who can’t leave their apartments so there’s been a group of us going up and checking on them.”

Arlington Woods and Craig Henry were the two hardest-hit neighbourhoods in Nepean, Ont., after an EF-2 tornado tore through the area, critically damaging a nearby power station.

Here’s how the Ottawa-Gatineau tornadoes formed so quickly

Though they are one of the closest areas to the station, Arlington Woods has been among the last to get power back. That hasn’t dampened the residents’ spirits, though, as a lot of them make their way down to the office, where two working outlets are being used by residents to charge their electronics.

Until the power comes back on, the apartment is in need of gas for generators, hot meals, batteries and flashlights.

Hydro Ottawa is now in the midst of sending technicians door to door in the area to check on electrical equipment. The workers will be carrying ID badges and will be driving marked vehicles.

According to area councillor Keith Egli, Hydro Ottawa believes it can have the power on in the area by Monday evening.

Others from throughout the neighbourhood are also stepping up to provide food for the residents, including several Muslim organizations, Parkdale Food Centre, Shore Club restaurant and St. Louis Wings.

For more information on how to help the residents in need, contact the apartment’s main office.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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