Feisty lo­cal race gives Michael Woods skills for the Giro d’italia

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - NEWS -

“Mike was a very ef­fec­tive and self­less team­mate to­day,” said Jonathan Vaugh­ters. The ceo of Slip­stream Sports, the or­ga­ni­za­tion be­hind Team Can­non­dale-dra­pac, was speak­ing about Michael Woods af­ter Stage 17 of the Giro d’italia. With strength and tac­ti­cal savvy, the Ot­tawa na­tive closed down at­tacks from the chase group late in the stage, which helped his team­mate Pierre Rol­land take the win. “With­out Woods’s in­tel­li­gence and sac­ri­fice, there would be no win,” Vaugh­ters added.

Later, Woods cred­ited a lo­cal race for giv­ing him the skills he needed dur­ing that stage. “There’s a lo­cal Tues­day night race, ev­ery two weeks, that’s a loop in Gatineau Park,” he said. “There are peo­ple at­tack­ing each other from gun to tape. That’s ba­si­cally what hap­pened on Stage 17. It wasn’t a con­trolled pelo­ton, like you usu­ally see with teams like Sky or Mo­vis­tar at the front. From that big break­away I was in, we just at­tacked each other. I felt like I was at a bit of an ad­van­tage in that sit­u­a­tion.”

“A lot of the guys I race against were so good at such an early age that they get on these World­tour teams pretty fast. Then, it’s al­most like they ne­glect that at­tack-heavy style of rac­ing be­cause it’s not re­ally part of a World­tour rider’s reper­toire. But that style of rac­ing, I was even do­ing it on Op­tum two years ago, so I was still able to tap into that skill set,” he said, re­fer­ring to his time on the North Amer­i­can con­ti­nen­tal team, Op­tum pre­sented by Kelly Ben­e­fit Strate­gies.

“What those lo­cal races don’t pre­pare you for is a stage that is 219 km long and fol­lows a day where you do the Stelvio twice and the Mor­tirolo be­fore that,” Woods added.

Books and bikes meet on the Read­ing Line

At a cy­cling ad­vo­cacy group’s meet­ing in Toronto, Janet Joy Wil­son and Amanda Lewis rec­og­nized one an­other. They both worked at Pen­guin Ran­dom House Canada at the time, but in dif­fer­ent de­part­ments. They learned, at that meet­ing, that not only were they both pas­sion­ate about books, but bikes as well. In 2014, they started the Read­ing Line, an an­nual event in On­tario’s cap­i­tal that mixes rid­ing with lit­er­a­ture. The in­au­gu­ral ride fo­cused on the Green Line, a se­ries of green spa­ces that fol­low a hy­dro cor­ri­dor that some ad­vo­cates would like to see turned into a lin­ear park like New York’s High Line. By rid­ing through this area, the or­ga­niz­ers wanted to draw at­ten­tion to the space and the cy­cling in­fras­truc­ture con­nected to it, but in a fun way that wasn’t heavy handed, There were read­ings by nov­el­ists and op­por­tu­ni­ties to chat, and even shop as the pace was leisurely.

“We’re plant­ing words in new lo­ca­tions,” said Wil­son about the se­ries’s rides. “You get the op­por­tu­nity not just to hear the au­thors read from or talk about their books, but you can ride along­side them and have fur­ther con­ver­sa­tions.”

In Au­gust 2017, the ride will start at the Chil­dren’s Peace Theatre in the east of the city and then con­nect with the Don River. Ad­woa Ba­doe, a chil­dren’s au­thor and sto­ry­teller based in Guelph, Ont., will kick things off be­fore the rid­ers roll out.

Leah Kirch­mann sup­ports, then leads and wins

“Fi­nally my ex­pe­ri­ence paid off in the race,” Leah Kirch­mann said with a hint of irony. It was a lit­tle more than a week af­ter she’d won the Grand Prix Cy­cliste Gatineau road race, an event she’d par­tic­i­pated in each year since it de­buted in 2010. This year, she was part of a na­tional squad made up of rid­ers from dif­fer­ent teams and di­rected by Kevin Field of Cy­cling Canada. It wasn’t just Kirch­mann’s ex­pe­ri­ence at Gatineau that helped her win. This past spring, the Dun­das, Ont.-based rider, whose pro­fes­sional squad is Team Sun­web, played a sup­port role in races such as Om­loop Het Nieuws­blad, Strade Bianche and the Tour of Flan­ders. It was in con­trast to 2016,

when she was able to look for op­por­tu­ni­ties for her­self. “I en­joy tak­ing on dif­fer­ent roles within the team,” she said. “I find that play­ing an im­por­tant part in a sup­port role can help me be a bet­ter leader when it is my chance to go for a re­sult. At Gatineau, I was able to bring in lessons from this past spring, es­pe­cially head­ing into the sprint and giv­ing good di­rec­tions for where I would like to be and how the other girls could lead me out in the best way pos­si­ble.”

Kirch­mann’s na­tional squad team­mate Kristi Lay was i nstru­men­tal in the lead-out and fin­ished in sec­ond place. Other mem­bers of the team helped bring Kirch­mann back to the bunch af­ter the des­ig­nated sprinter stuffed a me­chan­i­cal ear­lier in the race. “If we can con­tinue to work this well as a na­tional team,” Kirch­mann said, “then I think it can trans­late, in the fu­ture, to races like the world cham­pi­onships and the Olympics, those events where new team­mates need to come to­gether for the best re­sults.”— MP

The Read­ing Line

Michael Woods at the 2017 Giro d’italia

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