Michael Woods’ late charge fell just short Sunday as the Canadian rider finished fifth in the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic.
Slovenian rider Tadej Pogacar outsprinted Frenchmen Julian Alaphilippe and David Gaudu to win the 295.5-kilometre race. Pogacar was last in the breakaway group when he made his move, passing all four and pipping Alaphilippe at the line.
Woods and Alejandro Valverde joined the trio in breaking away from the pack on the final climb of the race. Valverde placed fourth.
“I’m really proud of how I raced,” said Woods, a 34-year-old from Ottawa who rides for the Israel Start-Up Nation team. “Unfortunately, I came fifth, but I wanted to win, and I raced to win. But I just didn’t position as well as I could in that last sprint.
Courageous race by <a href=”https://twitter.com/rusty_woods?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@rusty_woods</a> in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/liegeBastogneLiege?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#liegeBastogneLiege</a> after attacking in the last steep hills but finishing fifth in the final sprint. <br><br>He vowed to race with Guts.<br><br>He vowed to race like a champion.<br><br>Delivered. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/YallaMike?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#YallaMike</a>. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/YallaISN?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#YallaISN</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Bhp1HKlL0Z”>pic.twitter.com/Bhp1HKlL0Z</a>
“When you race to win you can’t be too disappointed. It was a good day. My goal was to race with guts and I feel like I did. And the team rode really well behind me.”
Woods, who was coming off a fourth-place finish Wednesday at the Fleche Wallonne, has done well at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He was second in 2018, fifth in 2019 and seventh in 2020.
Liege-Bastogne-Liege is seen as one of men’s cycling five monument races — prestigious, challenging one-day events that also include Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Giro di Lombardia.