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Michael Woods wins Stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico, takes over race lead

First Canadian to win a stage of the Race of the Two Seas

Michael Woods beat Rafal Majka in an uphill sprint to become the first Canadian to win a stage of Tirreno-Adriatico and take over the blue jersey from Pascal Ackermann, victor of the first two stages, the EF Pro Cycling rider leading Majka by five-seconds on GC.

The Course

There were plenty of small and medium climbs on a profile that looked like a barracuda’s lower jaw. The short, steep Poggio Murella ((1.7 km at 10.5 percent) was ascended twice, the last peaking with 8.5-km to go. Another short 3.5 percent ramp led to the finish in Saturnia. The 217-km day was broiling.

A seven-rider breakaway dashed away at the 12-km mark, and one of the escapees, Benjamin Thomas, tried to solo to victory.

With 54-km to go, Woods’ EF Pro Cycling took over the front of the peloton, drawing the fugitives closer and putting Chris Froome in difficulty. Yellow-clad Ecuadorian champion Jonathan Klever Caicedo in particular toiled for the Pink Armada.

EF Pro Cycling drills it at the front on Stage 3.

The six-pack of chasers brought Thomas back.

Uncategorized climbs like the Manciano chipped away at the break’s advantage.

The Climax

With the fugitives just within touching distance, Deceuninck-Quick Step and Ineos took over the front before the Murella, nicknamed “Muro del Pirata” after Marco Pantani.

On the Murella, Quick Step’s Frenchman Florian Sénéchal lit out after the final escapee, Matt Holmes (Great Britain/Lotto-Soudal). Both were sopped up just before the peak.

Woods grabbed the reins, with Geraint Thomas and Jakob Fuglsang able to go with him. Woods topped the Murella and then went solo on the descent.

Woods solo on the descent of the Murella.

With 6.2 km remaining, Rafal Majka bridged over to the Canadian. Their gap over a high-powered chase containing Thomas, Fuglsang and Simon Yates was small.

Going under the red kite, the duo had a 15-second lead. There was no time for cat and mouse games. Majka led out the sprint, Woods attacked with 150-metres to the line and took a fine victory.

Woods has a tough Stage 4 on which to defend his blue leader’s jersey; there are two HC-rated climbs in the final third of the 194-km route to Cascia.

Snazzy in blue.

2020 Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3

1) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Pro Cycling) 5:19:46
2) Rafal Majka (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe) +0:01
3) Wilco Kelderman (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:20

2020 Tirreno-Adriatico GC
1) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Pro Cycling) 13:19:24
2) Rafal Majka (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe +0:05
3) Wilco Kelderman (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:26