Danger on the Porte bow
FORMER professional runner Mike Woods has been dubbed the biggest threat to Richie Porte winning his second Tour Down Under., which begins in Adelaide today.
Canadian Woods will lead a strong Education First team, which has been training in Australia for two weeks.
He was third in last year’s world championships on a hilly course in Austria and finished fifth at his Tour debut two years ago.
Tour Down Under 2015 winner Rohan Dennis said Woods was the man most likely to challenge Porte.
“There are two guys to watch — Richie obviously and Mike Woods,” Dennis said.
“Mike looks like he’s in good form. He always looks pretty lean, but he’s been looking to start the season off on a high. No doubt he’s been training pretty hard.
“We saw what he could do at the world championships last year in Innsbruck, coming third, and that was a very steep climb — steeper than the Corkscrew or Willunga. He’s going to be right up there.
“And Richie … he’s won Willunga the last five years, and he’s always going to be up there. One day one of us might beat him, but we have to hope for the best.”
Woods turned pro in 2016 after a successful middledistance running career.
He has finished seventh overall in the Vuelta a Espana and second in Liege-Bastogne-Liege in the past two seasons.
The 32-year-old said he was excited about the Corkscrew stage on Friday, and taking on Porte on Willunga on Sunday.
Woods will be supported by Australians Lachlan Morton, Mitch Docker and neo pro James Whelan, as well as internationals Dan McCleay, Tom Scully and Alberto Bettiol.
With the temperature expected to nudge 40C today the circuit finish to Stage 1 from North Adelaide to Port Adelaide has been removed amid fears high winds could disrupt the general classification.