Michael Woods has had a rocky debut at the Tour de France. The 32-year-old Ottawa-native has hit the deck at least three times in the first 12 stages of the French Grand Tour. After Stage 12, it was revealed he had broken two ribs in a crash the day before. At the beginning of the Tour, Woods expressed a desire to be racing at the front of the Tour looking to score a stage win. Heading into Stage 8, Woods was ninth overall.
On the 200 km eighth stage from Mâcon to Saint-Étienne, Woods was the first rider to slide out in a corner within 15-km of the finish line taking out defending champion Geraint Thomas and other Ineos riders. While Thomas limited his loses, Woods slid down the standings falling outside the top-30. Then on Wednesday, he hit the deck again.
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“I avoided the crash initially,” said Woods after Stage 11. “I was stopping, putting my foot down and then I got hit from behind. That’s how I ended up on the ground.”
The crash left Woods with sore ribs but he was able to start Stage 12 to Bagnères-de-Bigorre. On a descent he went down again, getting caught in a crash with Stage 11 winner Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal). While the stage looked to potentially suit Woods, he didn’t go into the 40-rider breakaway from which Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won the stage. Woods managed to recover from his fall and cruised into the finish with the big GC group but on further inspection, the lingering effects of his crash the day before were worse than initially reported.
“I broke two ribs,” Woods said. “They’re clean breaks. No surgery needed, so I’m cleared to continue.”
The injury will potentially affect his ambitions going forward but after the stage, Woods indicated that he’d continue in the race trying to recover before the Tour enters the final gruelling week which features numerous tough mountain stages.
“It was tranquillo behind in the bunch,” Woods said about Stage 12. “It worked out great for me because I was pretty sore after yesterday’s crash.”
Despite being a little banged up, Woods got a morale boost with some kind messages from Canada cheering him on. Stage 13 is a 27 km individual time trial in Pau.