[‘A dream come true’: Michael Woods on his historic Puy de Dôme Tour de France stage win
Michael Woods was ecstatic with his solo victory on stage nine of the Tour de France which finished on the Puy de Dôme, saying that it was his best win in cycling.
The Canadian climber on Israel-Premier Tech was part of a large breakaway group which built up a huge lead of over ten minutes on the run into the mythical climb in the Auvergne.
After being left behind by some of the remnants of the breakaway, Woods measured his efforts before gradually picking off his rivals including Neilson Powless (EF Education-Easy Post) and Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious).
Eventually the Canadian caught and passed Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) before going solo to the line.
“I mean this was my career goal. It’s certainly the greatest result I’ve ever had in cycling,” Woods said. “I’m turning 37 this year. So I was starting to feel like that window to win a stage at the Tour was starting to close.
“So to have won a stage now is just a dream come true. I’m super proud and just really, really grateful.”
After being left behind on the lower slopes, Woods was forced to claw his way back to the head of the race meaning the victory was never a foregone conclusion. According to the Canadian, winning stage nine had been a long-standing target of his.
“Yeah, I mean, that was the goal [to win the stage],” he explained. “You dream about it, you know. I’d never won a stage of the Tour. So it wasn’t a certainty by any stretch of the imagination.”
The Tour’s highly anticipated return to the Puy de Dôme brought huge crowds to the roadside, something which Woods said made the experience of racing up the mythical climb even more memorable.
“It was so so loud,” he said. “With five kilometres to go or so there were just so many fans, just before the barriers started. It was deafening and then to just pass into the four kilometre-ish mark was like crazy, because all the sudden there’s just silence.
“I was just alone with my thoughts and just looking up the road and just trying to pick off guys one by one. So it was really mentally interesting and really cool to experience.”
“It’s just a really cool climb,” he added. “You can see it from a way away on the approach. I think it was so unique because there were no fans. It was almost like Covid racing a few years ago.
“It’s a really beautiful climb and certainly one of the hardest stages you could possibly do at the same time.”