Canadian rider Michael Woods moves into lead in French race

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FAYENCE, France — Canadian Michael Woods won the second stage of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var on Saturday, moving into the overall lead of the three-day race.

It marked the first victory for the 34-year-old cyclist from Ottawa in the colours of Israel Startup Nation, his new team.

"This was excellent and the team rode so well for me," said Woods. "I'm just glad I could return the favour."

The Canadian, who was fourth in Stage 1 Friday, moved into the overall lead by two seconds ahead of Stage 1 winner Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands.

Woods made his move on the last climb Saturday, outgunning Mollema in a sprint to the finish.

"I felt good and I knew I had to commit to that climb," he said.

Fellow Canadian Hugo Houle, riding for Astana-Premier Tech, figured in an early break Saturday and finished 73rd in the stage. He moved up 22 points in the general classification to 82nd.

The race ends Sunday with a 136-kilometre stage.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2021

The Canadian Press