Two Canadian riders forced to drop out of Basque race after crashes

Canada's Michael Woods removes his face mask before the start of the fourth stage of the Tirreno Adriatico cycling race, from Terni to Cascia, Italy, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Marco Alpozzi/LaPresse via AP

TORONTO - Canadian rider Michael Woods withdrew from the Itzulia Basque Country race Thursday in the wake of a crash near the end of Stage 3.

Woods' team, Israel Start-Up Nation, said the 34-year-old from Ottawa had a badly bruised left hand and shoulder from Wednesday's crash.

Woods said he opted to drop out to preserve his chance of competing in the Ardennes classics one-day races later this month.

"My hand's pretty sore at the moment. So's my neck," Woods said. "And I just think it'd be a bit of a risk to continue racing and a risk to the Ardennes. But I know I'll be back. I know I'll be feeling good in a few days and I'll be good for the Ardennes."

Canadian teammate James Piccoli, meanwhile, crashed during a fast decent during Stage 4 Thursday. The 29-year-old from Montreal suffered a bruised hand and was forced to abandon the race.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2021.

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