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Michael Woods comes runner-up to Bauke Mollema at Japan Cup

Woods' teammate Taylor Phinney brings career to a close

The Japan Cup is the season ender for many riders, and in Utsunomiya on Sunday, Michael Woods and Bauke Mollema sprinted out for the win with the Dutch Il Lombardia champ taking the flowers. Woods finishes his season with three straight top-5 results including victory in Milano-Torino. Woods’ teammate Taylor Phinney bowed out of professional cycling at the race.

The Course

On offer at the 1.HC-rated race were 13 laps, each with a 5-km climb of 3.4 percent, for a total of 144.2 km.

There were five WorldTour teams in Japan for the race: EF Education First, Trek-Segafredo, Jumbo-Visma, Mitchelton-Scott and Bahrain-Merida.

Mollema had a teammate in the day’s breakaway, which came to heel with two laps to go. Jumbo-Visma had greatly streamlined the peloton, and from this reduced group Woods and Mollema broke away.

Jumbo-Visma could not bring the duo back and it was clear that the two riders would fight it out for the win. Mollema, still rolling from his first career Monument victory, rode the Canadian off his wheel in the final 200 metres.

All three riders on the podium were from WorldTour squads, with Mitchelton-Scott’s Dion Smith third. Forty-three year old Francisco Mancebo, who had six straight top-10 results in Grand Tours from 2002 to 2005, was fourth. Phinney did not finish.

28th Japan Cup Cycle Road Race
1) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek-Segafredo) 3:41:13
2) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Education First) +0:01
3) Dion Smith (New Zealand/Mitchelton-Scott) +0:44