Michael Woods had one of his best climbing performances of his career when he stormed to the win at Milano-Torino on Wednesday. He made the race explode with his attacking alongside Frenchman David Gaudu who was also extremely active. After his race-win, Woods posted his ride to Strava so we can have an in-depth look at the power behind the amazing performance in which he rode the former world champion, Alejandro Valverde along with the rest of the peloton, right off his wheel. Woods is listed at 60 kg on the EF Education First Pro Cycling website.
Through the flatlands
The first 153 km of Milano-Torino is flat. The racing was not hard for Woods who was tucked in the peloton during this opening phase of the race as he averaged only 194 W (3.2 W/kg). While the effort was too taxing, Woods averaged 46 km/hr and had to put in a few harder efforts hitting 790 W during one brief effort.
Super climbing on Superga
Milano-Torino has a tried and true formula with the flat run in and then two ascents of the Superga climb with is 4.9 km at 9 per cent the final time up and a little shorter the first time as the peloton doesn’t go right to the top where the finish line is. The first ascent was tough as Woods averaged 386 W (6.4 W/kg) for 14:09. Woods cadence varied between 75 rpm and 110 rpm.
After the descent, the racing was really on. EF Education First’s Alex Howes and Tanel Kangert did great turns to set Woods up on the climb that nearly perfectly suits his strengths as a rider. Then the action kicked into full gear.
With 4 km still to race, Woods launched the first of many accelerations following a move from Jacob Fuglsang. It was a 547 W (9.1 W/kg) effort that lasted 22 seconds and gained the Ottawa-native some separation as only Ion Izaguirre and Jack Haig followed. Woods kept driving the pace trying to make the race hard.
Before the 2 km to go mark, Woods was joined by Gaudu having been riding hard and steady up the climb utilizing his characteristic out of the saddle style that sometimes still looks like he’s running. With 1.6 km to go, a larger group had joined Woods that included Valverde, Adam Yates, Egan Bernal, Gaudu and Izaguirre. Woods launched another huge effort, a 503 W (8.4 W/kg) surge for 33 sec, that Yates responded to. Moments later, Gaudu came across and attacked forcing Woods to respond with a 754 W acceleration. With 1.2 km to go, Woods and Gaudu were continuing the sharp accelerations. With 800 m to go, Woods and Gaudu were joined by Bernal, Valverde and Yates. At 600 m, Gaudu accelerated again and Woods responded with a 910 W surge, his hardest power output of the entire day after 179 km of racing.
In the last 500 m, Woods was still able to force the pace gradually ramping up the power until only Valverde was left and finally at 300 m, Woods was away on his own. He pushed 640 W (10.7 W/kg) for 42 sec to crack Valverde. Finally, in the final meters Woods looked over his shoulder to see enough separation with Valverde and crossed the line solo with his hands raised. It was an incredible display of the Canadians climbing power.
The entire effort up the Superga was astronomical. Woods averaged an astounding 434 W (7.2 W/kg) for 13:39 setting the second-fastest Strava ascent of the climb after Thibaut Pinot’s race-winning effort from last year which was merely one-second faster.
A favourite for Il Lombardia
With the victory, his first career in a one-day race, Woods solidified his position as a favourite for Il Lombardia. Primoz Roglic is the other stand out rider who’s won Tre Valli Varesine and Giro dell’Emilia this week. After the race, Woods said winning the last Monument of the season would be icing on the cake after his win on Wednesday.