Michael Woods is forced to leave the Basque Country tour in 2021 after falling in the third stage of the race. The driver of the Israeli start-up nation crashed in the final kilometers of the third phase, hitting the deck along with Wilco Kelderman near the front of the peloton.
Woods was placed towards the front before the last climb of the day by his teammate Patrick Bevin when he crashed at the corner exit along with Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), who then gave up the race.
The Canadian rider finished almost 10 minutes less than the final winner of the stage, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), together with his teammate Ben Hermans.
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The Israeli start-up nation tweeted: “Michael Woods will not start the fourth phase of the Basque Country tour.
“After his fall yesterday, Mike was diagnosed with severe bruising of his left arm and shoulder. Following the advice of the medical staff of the Israeli start-up nation, Mike will take a break from the race to speed up his recovery. “
The team also sent a video from Woods where he said he was “disappointed” with giving up the race, but that he didn’t want to risk getting further injured before the Ardennes Classics.
The 34-year-old started the season solidly by winning the Tour du Var, as well as second overall behind Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), finishing in the top 10 of each stage.
He also showed good legs in the high mountains against some of the best in the world at Volta a Catalunya where he came in 11th overall, taking second place in the queen of the race stage.
The Basque Country tour went in the same direction after a relatively strong chronometer on opening day, followed by fifth place a day later.
This break comes at a bad time for Woods as he hopes to lead the Israeli start-up team at the upcoming Ardennes Classics later this month before heading to the Tour of Romandie, Critérium du Dauphiné and then the Tour de France potentially supporting Chris Froma.
Kelderman’s sports director Bora-Hansgrohe, Jens Zemke, said: “It looked very good to us until the final climb. Our drivers stayed together and left a pretty strong impression. Unfortunately, there was a drop before the last climb and as a result Wilco [Kelderman] had to leave the race due to injury.
“It’s a shame to lose him again in an accident, especially when he just returned due to injury.”
Kelderman also hopes to run a complete Ardennes Classic campaign, as well as Romandie, Dauphiné and beyond. tour.