Professional road cycling is in a bummer holding pattern this late-winter, with the coronavirus like a grim specter looming over it all, but an extra helping of dreadful was spooned out on Thursday when Michael Woods crashed out of Paris-Nice.
Woods’ crash resulted in a broken femur. The Canadian cyclist was taken to a hospital in Lyon, where evaluations confirmed he suffered a closed fracture to his right femur. He will undergo surgery Thursday evening in Lyon to repair the injury and will return to his home in Girona, Spain post surgery.
“We feel for Mike and his friends and family,” said EF’s head of Medicine, Kevin Sprouse. “We’ll work with Mike every inch of the way as he recovers from this injury.”
❌ Suite à sa chute, 🇨🇦 Michael Woods est contraint à l'abandon.
❌ After his crash, 🇨🇦 Michael Woods is forced to quit #ParisNice.
— Paris-Nice (@ParisNice) March 12, 2020
Thursday’s stage was notable for three things: it was the longest stage in the race, the sun actually emerged and Paris-Nice officially became the only WorldTour race of March 2020, with AG Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem and the Volta a Catalunya all getting pulled from the schedule due to coronavirus fears.
🇫🇷 #ParisNice | STAGE 5
The longest stage of this year's race is upon us. This is what it'll look like:
📍 Gannat ➡️ La Côte-Saint-André
🚩 Start 11:00
🏁 Finish ca. 16:30
🏔️ 1 x Cat 2; 3 x Cat 3
🛣️ 227km pic.twitter.com/v1ozi38x9r
— BORA – hansgrohe (@BORAhansgrohe) March 12, 2020
Woods crashed on the Thursday’s descent of the Cat. 3 Cote de Saint-Prim with about 40-km remaining and could not continue. What with teammate Tejay van Garderen not starting the stage and Lawson Craddock climbing off the bike late in the stage, the chances of EF Pro Cycling’s Colombian champion Sergio Higuita running down race leader Max Schachmann in the mountains got much longer on Thursday.
Woods also crashed on the same day that Boivin did, finishing far behind stage winner Iván García Cortina. After Wednesday’s time trial, Woods was 54th.