Woods, Porte TDU favourites

The Daily Examiner - - SPORT - – Reece Hom­fray

CY­CLING: Cana­dian Mike Woods has been dubbed the big­gest threat to Aus­tralian star Richie Porte win­ning his sec­ond Tour Down Un­der which starts in North Ade­laide to­day.

Woods, who was third in last year’s world cham­pi­onships on a hilly course in Aus­tria and fin­ished fifth at his TDU de­but two years ago, will lead a strong EF Ed­u­ca­tion First team that has been train­ing in the Aus­tralian heat for the past two weeks.

Ro­han Den­nis, the 2015 TDU win­ner, said Woods was the man most likely to chal­lenge Porte for the ochre jer­sey.

“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 I be­lieve he’s been look­ing to start the sea­son off on a high.

“And Richie for ob­vi­ous rea­sons. 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 mid­dle-dis­tance run­ning ca­reer. As well as his world cham­pi­onship podium 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.

“I came third in it (Corkscrew stage) in 2016, it wasn’t there in 2017 when I did it again, but it’s a climb that favours me,” Woods said.

“It’s steep and when it’s steep the pace is slower and I can stand and pedal, and when I’m stand­ing I ef­fec­tively run on the bike. That’s my forte, run­ning on the bike.”

Photo: Daniel Kal­isz/Getty Im­ages

ONE TO BEAT: Richie Porte.

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