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Tour de France

Michael Woods: My first Tour de France goal? Not crashing

'I’ve come close to winning stages the last two times I’ve done the Tour, but I feel that I’ve always been hampered by injuries from crashes,' says Canadian rider.

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Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) will lead the line at the Tour de France alongside four-time winner Chris Froome and fellow veteran Jakob Fuglsang.

The Canadian, who won a stage and the overall at the recent La Route d’Occitanie – La Dépêche du Midi, will target stage wins in the Tour and possibly take aim at the king of the mountains jersey. The 35-year-old was in the mix for the competition in last year’s race until he ultimately pulled out of the race.

This time around his main priority will be to survive a hectic race as the Tour de France starts in Copenhagen on July 1 and then heads back to the French mainland for a stint of cross-wind racing and then cobbles.

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“I’m really excited to get started with this year’s Tour de France,” the Canadian climber said on Wednesday after his team confirmed its Tour lineup.

“After Route d’Occitanie, I’m feeling really confident for the race. The first week is going to be very demanding, very stressful, and very technical. My first goal is just not to crash in this opening week.”

Woods has started the Tour de France twice, first in 2019 and then again in 2021. He came close to winning stages during both outings but is still searching for his maiden stage win to add to his two stage wins from the Vuelta a España.

The Canadian is looking to come through the first week unscathed and then pinpoint mountain and intermediate stages in the second and third weeks.

“I’ve come close to winning stages the last two times I’ve done the Tour, but I feel that I’ve always been hampered by injuries from crashes,” he said. “This time around, the goal is just to stay safe and then have the legs ready to go in the final two weeks. There are quite a few stages there, which are suited to me, and I hope to take advantage of as many of them as possible.”