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by Shane Stokes
August 18, 2017
In today’s Daily News Digest: Gautier wins stage three of the Tour du Limousin; Former Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez fails anti-doping test; Sánchez: ‘I’m about to retire. Why would I do this?’; Quintana dismisses suggestions he could leave Movistar; Woods leads Cannondale-Drapac in Vuelta a España; Team Sky announces signings of Jonathan Castroviejo and David de la Cruz; Australian sprinter Perkins granted Russian citizenship by Putin; Winder, Mannion lead USA Cycling Pro Road Tour; Alberto Contador Foundation and Trek-Segafredo to set up Continental development team; Video: Cycling Motivation – Never Give Up; Video: Ferda Girls (Humble Parody)
Having made his Grand Tour debut earlier this year in the Giro d’Italia, riding aggressively and finishing fifth on two stages, Canadian Michael Woods will head the Cannondale-Drapac squad in the Vuelta a España. “Mike Woods is the guy that can really surprise people,” said directeur sportif Juanma Garate on Thursday.
“Not people from within the cycling world, because people surely know him after his stellar performance in his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, earlier this year. He’s really focused for the Vuelta, and Mike feels really comfortable when there is a steep uphill final. There are plenty of those this Vuelta.”
Woods said that riding the Giro was a ‘great learning experience,’ and so too seeing Pierre Rolland riding strongly in that race. “I learned that I am capable of going deeper and taking greater risks tactically than I had previously thought,” he said. “Definitely the experience of riding a Grand Tour has given me a better perspective on bike racing, and it has made me, in general, stronger.
“I have had a solid preparation for this race with a great training camp with Alex Howes in Colorado. I came very close to winning stages at the Giro, so obviously I would like to try and win a stage at the Vuelta. But I am going to keep my personal ambitions relaxed until I get a better feel of how I am going in the race.”
The team favours youth over experience, with an average age of 27 and four riders making their Grand Tour debuts. They are Will Clarke, Tom Scully, Brendan Canty and Toms Skujins. Two others are riding their second Grand Tours, namely Woods and Tom Van Asbroeck, with Simon Clarke, Davide Villella and Joe Dombrowski completing the team.