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Michael Woods earns first win of the season at Gran Camiño, takes race lead

Rusty leads Valverde with two tough stages to go

Michael Woods has bounced back from illness disappointment at his season opener Ruta del Sol and won Friday’s second stage of the new Gran Camiño race in Galicia, Spain, seizing the race lead in the process. Rusty conquered the short but steep Mirador do Ezaro ahead of Alejandro Valverde.

A job well done.

The Course

It was a lumpy profile over 177.6 km with a sting in the tail, a 1.9 ramp of 13.3 percent.

Seven breakaway riders dashed away early, their numbers whittled down to five heading into the final 10 km with a 22-second lead and Stage 1 winner and race leader Cort Magnus’s EF Education-Easypost doing the chasing.

The final fugitives capitulated with 6.5 km remaining and Israel-Premier Tech pulling.

Israel-Premier Tech and Movistar drove the streamlined pack towards the Mirador do Ezaro.

The opening grade fragmented the field. When Ivan Sosa of Movistar attacked with 1.1 km to ride, Woods went with him. In a steep curve with 800 metres to go Woods soloed away, Movistar trying to close.

Woods gets a gap in the final kilometer.

Movistar couldn’t yank Woods back and the Canadian finished 16 seconds clear of Valverde, which gave him a 17-second lead on GC.

After the finish Woods said, “I’m very happy. Relieved. I went to Ruta del Sol last week hoping to get a result because I was in good shape, but then got sick and then spent the last week worrying about my form and hoping I would have the legs that I had before I got sick, and I think I did.”

Saturday’s queen stage ends with a Cat. 2 and two Cat. 1 climbs in the final third of the route. Sunday is the time trial finale.

2022 Gran Camiño Stage 2
1) Michael Woods (Canada/Israel-Premier Tech) 4:35:52
2) Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +0:16
3) Ruben Fernandez (Spain/Cofidis) +0:37

2022 Gran Camiño GC
1) Michael Woods (Canada/Israel-Premier Tech) 8:32:40
2) Alejandro Valverde (Spain/Movistar) +0:17
3) Ruben Fernandez (Spain/Cofidis) +0:42