Mike Woods fifth in queen stage of Volta ao Algarve

Canadian finishes 13 seconds behind stage winner Richie Porte

“Mike Woods catapulted off a full team-effort today to take fifth place in stage four of Portugal’s Volta ao Algarve. The race’s queen stage promised to be a dogfight for anyone willing to go uphill quickly, and the team rallied around Woods and Phil Gaimon as their biggest threats in the climbs. The race’s queen stage and quite possibly the determining factor for Algarve’s overall champion would be determined by two trips up the twisting, steep corridors of Monte Malhao.

With Team Sky controlling the pace for the majority of the day, Woods, Gaimon and the rest of the Orange & Black waited patiently for the final circuit, where a battle ensued for a stage win and positioning on the overall heading into tomorrows final, flatter day of racing. Woods finished 13 seconds behind stage winner Richie Porte of Team Sky and inside a top ten of WorldTour stars. Gaimon finished 42 seconds off the winning pace in 15th. The result catapulted Woods into 12th on general classification, a ten spot jump from stage three. The team finished 4th in the stage’s team classification, a testament to the incredible teamwork that made the result possible.”

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Mike Woods on the team work that made his incredible result possible:
“The guys were incredible today – everyone sheltered me from the wind all day and kept me focused and safe for the final circuits. It’s the first time this week I have started a climb in good position, and that is 100% because of our teamwork. When you start with good position, it gives you a lot of confidence and I was able to capitalize on the team effort today. I’m a big dreamer. I came here thinking anything is possible, but to get a top five here though is special for the team and it’s certainly the biggest result of my career.”

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Phil Gaimon on helping Mike and finishing 15th on the stage:
“Uhh.. (laughter) I could say I helped him but he didn’t need a lot of help. There’s only so much you can do when it’s uphill. You either have it or you don’t. He had it and I was more in the ‘hanging on’ situation. I helped him a little bit with any insight I could provide in certain situations, but he knows what he’s doing. I’m happy with 15th – it’s where I hope to be for this time of the year and I’m still building form so I’m stoked. I think our team is firing on all cylinders and no one would have expected we could do any better than this.”

Eric Wohlberg on the team’s performance in stage four:
“The guys did a fantastic drive for him today. It was really windy and we had to protect Mike for him to have a chance at a result. He would drop back to have a nature break and the guys shuttled him back on just like Team Sky was shuttling the yellow jersey around all day. Tom Zirbel and Ryan Anderson did a fantastic job today – Zirbel was back at the car all the time taking massive loads of bottles and Ryan provided a lot of tactical savvy in the run-in to the final circuits. Jesse Anthony and Will Routley played a critical role as well in sheltering Mike and closing down any dangerous gaps, so it was truly an all-out team effort. Phil and Guillaume are used to racing at this level and we call on them all week to help strategize effectively. Despite working hard for Woodsy, Phil still had a great climb and I know that Guillaume and Ryan are ready to help Eric Young battle for a stage win tomorrow in the sprint.”

Tom Zirbel on his behind-the-scenes work:
“I wanted to contribute today. I didn’t do much the first two road stages – I had a mechanical late in the first stage and I was trying to conserve energy for the time trial the second day, so I wanted to be able to contribute today. On a hard six hour bike ride like today its important to eat and drink as much as you can. Even if the guys weren’t out of bottles, I just kept giving them to them. We knew Woodsy was climbing well at camp, but to have it confirmed here against some of the best of the world is a great feeling. I think he kind of set the tone for the rest of the year.”

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