Woods, Porte the TDU favourites
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.”
ONE TO BEAT: Richie Porte.