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Woods strong at the Wall of Fayence

Stronger on the slopes of the Mur de Fayence, Michael Woods signs his first victory of the year and his first under the colors of the Israel Start-Up Nation team and takes the lead of the Tour du Haut-Var.

Michael Woods made the power speak. On the slopes of up to 20% of the Mur de Fayence, the Mecca of the Tour du Haut-Var, the Canadian of the Israel Start-Up Nation formation has opened his prize list for the 2021 season. Traced around Fayence, this second stage 168 kilometers long has experienced a relatively classic scenario with many attempts to escape from the first hundreds of meters. It was only after a little over 20 kilometers that the peloton let go of a group of seven riders including Cyril Barthe and Hugo Houle. The good breakaway of this stage first took three minutes but the gap quickly grew to reach four minutes after 40 kilometers. The pace of the peloton was first of all regulated by the Groupama-FDJ and Trek-Segafredo teams, which released a little more ballast on the slopes of the Mur de Montauroux and in the valley leading to the Col de Mons, the gap flirting with the five minutes. Ambitious for its leader Michael Woods, the Israel Start-Up Nation team came to lend a hand at the front of the peloton to retain control over the breakaway.

Woods did better than resist against Mollema and Narvaez

After the first ascent of the Mur de Fayence, the gap started to decrease. The second of the three climbs of the final climb wore out the breakaways with Dylan Kowalski and Andrea Mifsud being unhinged before being absorbed by the peloton. While the Cofidis and Ineos Grenadiers teams also came out ahead of the peloton, Nans Peters, Anthony Turgis and Pierre Latour were victims of a fall. Biniam Girmay also gave up on the edge of the last 20 kilometers but the acceleration of Rohan Dennis and Dylan Van Baarle at the front of the peloton changed the situation. It was five kilometers from the finish that the rest of the break saw the peloton come back, opening the door to an explanation in the Mur de Fayence. Geraint Thomas accelerated before seeing Alexis Vuillermoz answer him but the strongest was Michael Woods. The Canadian took down Bauke Mollema, winner of the first stage, and Jonathan Narvaez to impose himself powerfully and take first place in the general classification on the eve of the last stage. First Frenchman, David Gaudu takes fourth place ahead of Alexis Vuillermoz and Rudy Molard.

Haut-Var CYCLING / TOUR OF THE HAUT-VAR
2nd stage – Fayence-Fayence (168km) – Saturday February 20, 2021
1- Michael Woods (CAN / Israel Start-Up Nation) in 4h16’54 ”
2- Bauke Mollema (PBS / Trek-Segafredo) at 2 ”
3- Jhonatan Narvaez (COL / Ineos Grenadiers) at 4 ”
4- David Gaudu (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 7 ”
5- Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA / Total Direct Energie) at 10 ”
6- Rudy Molard (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 10 ”
7- Ben O’Connor (AUS / AG2R-Citroën) at 11 ”
8- Jesus Herrada (ESP / Cofidis) at 13 ”
9- Arjen Livyns (BEL / Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles) at 13 ”
10- Pavel Sivakov (RUS / Ineos Grenadiers) at 13 ”

General classification after 2 stages (out of 3)
1- Michael Woods (CAN / Israel Start-Up Nation) in 9:07:15
2- Bauke Mollema (PBS / Trek-Segafredo) at 1 ”
3- David Gaudu (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 7 ”
4- Rudy Molard (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 10 ”
5- Ben O’Connor (AUS / AG2R-Citroën) at 11 ”
6- Jesus Herrada (ESP / Cofidis) at 13 ”
7- Giulio Ciccone (ITA / Trek-Segafredo) at 13 ”
8- Valentin Madouas (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 13 ”
9- Arjen Livyns (BEL / Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles) at 13 ”
10- Nairo Quintana (COL / Arkéa-Samsic) at 13 ”