Team Israel scoops Tour de France stage win in 'one of the best days ever'

Canadian rider Michael Woods became one of the oldest riders to ever win a stage of cycling's biggest race


Israel - Premier Tech's Canadian rider Michael Woods (R) celebrates winning the 9th stage of the 110th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, 182,5 km between Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat and Puy de Dome, in the Massif Central volcanic mountains in central France, on July 9, 2023. (Photo by MICHAEL STEELE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL STEELE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Canadian cyclist Michael Woods has won Israel-Premier Tech’s first Tour de France stage of the 2023 race, becoming one of the oldest men to ever take a stage victory.

Woods, who only turned to cycling nine years ago at the late age of 27, won the ninth stage of the famous race atop the mythical Puy de Dôme, an 11,000-year-old dormant volcano in the Massif Central region of France becoming the first athlete ever to have both run a four-minute mile and won a stage of the Tour de France.

Israel-Premier Tech’s team owner, the Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams, said that while there would be celebrations at the team hotel that evening, the team would be looking to not just equal last year’s record of two Tour stage wins but eclipse their previous best race result.

“I’m so happy for Mike,” Adams said. “It’s a great feeling to finish the first week of the Tour with a victory. There will be quite a nice celebration at the hotel tonight, and the rest day tomorrow will certainly be festive. And, we have two more weeks to hunt for more success. We won two stages last year. How nice would it be to exceed that lofty result?

"Due to my long personal relationship with Mike and the other Canadians on our team, I couldn’t be more proud. One of the best days ever for the team. Y’alla!”

Woods was part of a large group that escaped up the road to fight for the stage win, who then had to successfully claw back and catch the lone leader American Matteo Jorgenson.

In Woods’ support car behind as he climbed the volcano, the team’s sports director Rik Verbrugghe bluffed and told the Canadian he was only one minute behind Jorgenson, not the actual two minutes, to avoid the 36-year-old losing hope.

Israel - Premier Tech arrived at the Tour this year with the goal of winning at least one stage, no easy feat for a relatively new team.

“I’m still having a pinch-myself moment,” Woods said after the finish, a less busy affair than usual as the narrow road leading up to the summit restricted the number of cars and fans allowed up. “I can’t believe I made it. I’m really proud of myself and proud of my team. It’s special.”

“I’m 36 years old, 37 this year, not getting any younger,” Woods continued of finally achieving his dream of a Tour stage win.

“I’ve always talked about winning a stage at the Tour de France and I finally achieved it. So fortunate to have so many good people behind me – my family, my team, Sylvan Adams, my parents, my wife, my kids, they’ve all supported me, I’ve had some tough times the past few years. I’m back on top and really proud.”

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