Posted by Editoress on 07/24/21
As predicted, the men's Olympic road race was a gruelling race of attrition, as the peloton was whittled down by the climbs and the heat. Richard Carapaz gave Ecuador their second ever gold medal in a gutsy solo ride over the last six kilometres, while Canada's Mike Woods was fifth in the chase group sprint for silver. It is Canada's best men's road race result since Steve Bauer won silver in 1984. Wout van Aert (Belgium) won the sprint for silver ahead of Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia). Guillaume Boivin was 65th at 16:20 and Hugo Houle was the final finisher, in 85th at 19:50.
While the race was going on, Mike Woods' wife went into labour he revealed after the race: "My wife's four centimetres dilated right now, the baby's going to come at any moment! It will be a boy, William Woods, but we are going to call him Willie."
Woods was one of the most aggressive riders in the race, coming back from a crash that forced him to chase back up through the caravan. Only he and Brandon McNulty (USA) were able to join Tour winner Pogacar when he attacked on the hardest climb of the race - the Mikuni Pass - with about 35 kilometres to go.
"I got caught in a crash and broke my shoe. I didn't go down, but I had to go back to the cars and change my shoe in the middle of the race. Because of Guillaume and Hugo I was able to get back into the race without any problems. They placed me super well at the bottom of the Pass; they did a great job. Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart [both Great Britain], they crashed in front of me; I was able to avoid it, but just barely. Dario Ciccone [Italy] just skimmed my shoe and knocked one of the boas [tightening dials] off my shoe. I had an extra shoe in the car, went back to the car and had to do a shoe change. It was a first [in a race] for me; I've had to do something similar before so i was able to keep a cool head. It wasn't easy."
"I actually fuelled exceptionally well; we had a bunch of great hydration products. I was smashing liquids all day and that made a huge difference in my performance. I was really on it."
The three carved out a 20 second lead as the race shattered behind them. But a selected group led by van Aert was able to slowly reel them in. Woods attacked over the top of the climb, but was only the first of a number of attacks that was brought back, usually by van Aert, who was seen as the danger rider.
"I felt really good, really strong," said Woods. "I tried an attack at the top of Mikuni Pass, but fortunately, Wout van Aert was just so strong and the group was collaborating behind me, so they brought me back. I think that's the problem with me being a strong climber now and being recognized, is that I'm being marked a lot more and it's a lot harder to sneak away. I'm disappointed that I didn't medal today because I feel I was one of the strongest guys, but I'm proud of how I raced."
What would prove to be the winning move was launched by McNulty with 25 kilometres to go. Only Carapaz could follow the time trial specialist's wheel and the pair quickly gained 20 seconds, as the rest looked to van Aert to lead the chase. At 15 kilometres to go the gap was out to 45 seconds, and van Aert finally responded, putting in a massive effort that brought the leaders within 15 seconds with nine kilometres to go. Woods put in multiple attacks, but could nor distance himself from the rest of the group.
"I was shocked at how easy it was to get separation on the final climb, because everyone was cooked. Everyone was overheated; also the jet lag ... all those factors played into it, and I think a lot of guys were on their hands and knees early on."
But that was as close as they would get. Carapaz dropped a fading McNulty on one of the final small kicker climbs with six kilometres to go and began rebuilding his lead as the chasers swept up the American and began thinking about the sprint for silver.
Adam Yates (Great Britain) began the sprint with 200 metres to go, jumping across to the right side of the road. Van Aert led the rest of the group, staying up against the barriers on the other side of the road, as Pogacar came up beside him in the final metres. Both threw their bikes, with van Aert beating the Slovenian by little more than a tire's width.
Woods was a little boxed in behind van Aert for the start of the sprint, having to come around McNulty in the final metres and finishing just behind Bauke Mollema (Netherlands).
"Once I knew it [the sprint] was against Wout and Pogacar - Pogacar's got a great sprint as well - I knew my best bet was to try and come from behind in the headwind. I almost got Bauke Mollema, but not quite. I'm not disappointed with the sprint at all, I'm not a sprinter."
"I liked my chances if I was able to get separation on the kickers, and I tried that, but just couldn't shake everybody and it came down to a sprint at the end. Sometimes that's bike racing."
"It was a beautiful course, an amazing course, really special. I'm really glad we got to do it."
Hugo Houle, along with Guillaume Boivin, supported Woods through the race, and spoke after finishing 85th. He will race the time trial on Wednesday.
"I think Mike did great. He finished the job really well. I have not seen the race, but to finish fifth in the Olympics, with the names in front of him, it's quite a amazing. There's not many Canadians who have reached that level in the past. It's great for Cycling Canada and the road program to be up there at the front and show that we are competitive at the highest level in the world. I hope it's going to inspire a lot of kids to get on the bike, and hopefully we can build a program to have the next generation of Michael Woods in the coming few years."
"The climbs were hard and the big factor was the heat, because you never know how you [will] feel in the heat. There were a lot of corners, so the position you took was important. I would say the last climb [Mikuni Pass] was brutal with the steepness, but that's what Mike likes, so good for him ... I like it a lot less!"
"But the climb was a long way from here [the finish] so there was still a lot of movement in the race. The climb up here to the [finish] circuit is also really hard, so at the end of this day it is the strongest who can make the difference. There were plenty of opportunities for the strong guys to show what they have."
|Men's Road Race, 234 km|
|1 Richard Carapaz (Ecuador)||6:05:26|
|2 Wout van Aert (Belgium)||1:07|
|3 Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia)|
|4 Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)|
|5 Michael Woods (Canada)|
|6 Brandon McNulty (United States)|
|7 David Gaudu (France)|
|8 Rigoberto Uran (Colombia)|
|9 Adam Yates (Great Britain)||all s.t.|
|10 Nikias Arndt (Germany)||1:21|
|11 Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland)||1:35|
|12 Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)||2:43|
|13 Joao Almeida (Portugal)||3:38|
|14 Alberto Bettiol (Italy)|
|15 Dylan van Baarle (Netherlands)|
|16 Daniel Martin (Ireland)|
|17 Simon Philip Yates (Great Britain)|
|18 Patrick Konrad (Austria)||all s.t.|
|19 Rafal Majka (Poland)||3:40|
|20 Gianni Moscon (Italy)||3:42|
|21 Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan)||6:20|
|22 Toms Skujins (Latvia)|
|23 Alejandro Valverde (Spain)|
|24 Damiano Caruso (Italy)|
|25 Marc Hirschi (Switzerland)|
|26 George Bennett (New Zealand)|
|27 Guillaume Martin (France)|
|28 Primoz Roglic (Slovenia)|
|29 Emanuel Buchmann (Germany)||all s.t.|
|30 Hermann Pernsteiner (Austria)||7:51|
|31 Michael Schaer (Switzerland)|
|32 Pavel Sivakov (ROC)||both s.t.|
|33 Krists Neilands (Latvia)||10:12|
|34 Markus Hoelgaard (Norway)|
|35 Nariyuki Masuda (Japan)|
|36 Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)|
|37 Kevin Geniets (Luxembourg)|
|38 Kenny Elissonde (France)|
|39 Eder Frayre Moctezuma (Mexico)|
|40 Stefan Kueng (Switzerland)|
|41 Nelson Oliveira (Portugal)|
|42 Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spain)|
|43 Jan Polanc (Slovenia)|
|44 Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)|
|45 Esteban Chaves (Colombia)|
|46 Tanel Kangert (Estonia)|
|47 Jhonatan Manuel Narvaez Prado (Ecuador)|
|48 Richie Porte (Australia)|
|49 Remco Evenepoel (Belgium)|
|50 Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eritrea)|
|51 Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands)||all s.t.|
|52 Ryan Gibbons (South Africa)||11:27|
|53 Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)|
|54 Maximilian Schachmann (Germany)|
|55 Merhawi Kudus (Eritrea)|
|56 Anatolii Budiak (Ukraine)|
|57 Benoit Cosnefroy (France)|
|58 Tiesj Benoot (Belgium)|
|59 Aleksandr Vlasov (ROC)|
|60 Giulio Ciccone (Italy)|
|61 Tobias S. Foss (Norway)|
|62 Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spain)||all s.t.|
|63 Polychronis Tzortzakis (Greece)||16:20|
|64 Muradjan Khalmuratov (Uzbekistan)|
|65 Guillaume Boivin (Canada)|
|66 Aleksandr Riabushenko (Belarus)|
|67 Jan Tratnik (Slovenia)|
|68 Andrey Amador (Costa Rica)|
|69 Nairo Quintana (Colombia)|
|70 Gregor Muehlberger (Austria)|
|71 Lucas Hamilton (Australia)|
|72 Luke Durbridge (Australia)|
|73 Michel Ries (Luxembourg)|
|74 Gino Maeder (Switzerland)|
|75 Nicolas Roche (Ireland)|
|76 Edward Dunbar (Ireland)|
|77 Mauri Vansevenant (Belgium)|
|78 Michael Valgren Hundahl (Denmark)|
|79 Jesus Herrada (Spain)|
|80 Lawson Craddock (United States)|
|81 Sergio Higuita (Colombia)||all s.t.|
|82 Tobias Halland Johannessen (Norway)||19:46|
|83 Andreas Leknessund (Norway)||s.t.|
|84 Yukiya Arashiro (Japan)||19:50|
|85 Hugo Houle (Canada)||s.t.|
|DNF Greg van Avermaet (Belgium)|
|DNF Remi Cavagna (France)|
|DNF Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spain)|
|DNF Tao Geoghegan Hart (Great Britain)|
|DNF Geraint Thomas (Great Britain)|
|DNF Yoeri Havik (Netherlands)|
|DNF Kasper Asgreen (Denmark)|
|DNF ChristopherJuul- Jensen (Denmark)|
|DNF Ilnur Zakarin (ROC)|
|DNF Maciej Bodnar (Poland)|
|DNF Patrick Bevin (New Zealand)|
|DNF Stefan de Bod (South Africa)|
|DNF Nicholas Dlamini (South Africa)|
|DNF Michael Kukrle (Czech Republic)|
|DNF Juraj Sagan (Slovakia)|
|DNF Lukas Kubis (Slovakia)|
|DNF Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan)|
|DNF Vadim Pronskiy (Kazakhstan)|
|DNF Peeter Pruus (Estonia)|
|DNF Azzedine Lagab Algeria)|
|DNF Hamza Mansouri (Algeria)|
|DNF Eduard-Michael Grosu (Romania)|
|DNF Evaldas Siskevicius (Lithuania)|
|DNF Attila Valter (Hungary)|
|DNF Christofer Jurado Lopez (Panama)|
|DNF Manuel Oseas Rodas Ochoa (Guatemala)|
|DNF Moise Mugisha (Rwanda)|
|DNF Tristan de Lange (Namibia)|
|DNF Orluis Alberto Aular Sanabria (Venezuela)|
|DNF Onur Balkan (Turkey)|
|DNF Ahmet Orken (Turkey)|
|DNF Josip Rumac (Croatia)|
|DNF Paul Daumont (Burkina Faso)|
|DNF Ruidong Wang (China)|
|DNF Saeid Safarzadeh (Islamic Rep. of Iran)|
|DNF Eduardo Sepulveda (Argentina)|
|DNF Mohcine El Kouraji (Morocco)|
|DNF Elchin Asadov (Azerbaijan)|
|DNF Royner Navarro Calle (Peru)|
|DNF Chun Kai Feng (Taiwan)|
|DNF Hiu Fung Choy (Hong Kong)|
|DNS Simon Geschke (Germany)|
|DNS Michal Schlegel (Czech Republic)|
|Return to Canadian Cyclist homepage | Back to Top|