Chrétien hits out for KOM jersey in the City of Bridges – Rally Cycling

Rally Cycling’s stagiaire Charles-Étienne Chrétien made his name known at the Giro di Sicilia by taking the lead in the KOM classification on stage 1. The 22-year-old Canadian was part of the day’s breakaway and took maximum points over the only categorized climb at Ragusa Ibla.

“It’s really nice to be in the King of the Mountain’s leader’s jersey,” Chrétien said at the end of his fifth race for the team. “I was patient and let the two other guys start their sprint from far out and stayed on the wheel which paid off and then I just went for it.”

The 8.2-kilometer-long climb came 90km from the finish, so having crested the summit in first, all Chrétien had to do was roll over the line to be in the Maglia Verde Pistacchio. 

The town of Ragusa Ibla is often referred to as “The City of Bridges” and is one of the island’s seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it also proved to be where the peloton would start to bridge the gap. 

The advantage of the trio began to tumble as UAE-Team Emirates pulled on the front. With a coastal run-in, stage one favoured the sprinters and so it came to pass when Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE-Team Emirates) took the victory in a bunch kick. 

The climber from Amos, Quebec is one of three stagiaires that joined the team in August. With Raphaël Parisella also recently tasting success at the Tour du Doubs, our apprentices are showing that they are raring to prove themselves.

Looking ahead to the challenges to come in Sicily, Chrétien said, “for now I think we have bigger GC objectives so I doubt we will defend the jersey, but we shall see going forward.”

The team in Sicily (L-R) Ben King, Charles-Étienne Chrétien, Kyle Murphy, Gavin Mannion, Keegan Swirbul, Emerson Oronte and Nate Brown

The jersey Chrétien will wear tomorrow is a light shade of green, referencing the color of the island’s famous nuts. Stage 2 is on a rolling parcours and features two categorized tests. The wealth of climbing and the tight ascent and descent at Carini, 24km from the finish, could favor a potential breakaway. 

Catch the action from 7:00 am ET on GCN+ and the Eurosport Player.  

Giro di Sicilia KOM standings
1 Charles-Étienne Chrétien – Rally Cycling 5
2 Matteo Zurlo – Zalf Euromobil Fior 3
3 Jacopo Cortese – M.g.k Vis VPM 2
4 David de la Cruz – UAE-Team Emirates 1

— Oskar Scarsbrook to rallycycling.com

Woods climbs into the KOM jersey on stage 14 of the Tour

Israel Start-Up Nation has taken the iconic polka dot KOM jersey with Michael Woods after a courageous effort by the Canadian climber on stage 14 of the Tour de France. This is the first ever leader’s jersey for ISN in the the Tour!

With its undulating profile, today’s stage had breakaway written all over it. Therefore, it was no surprise to see a furious fight to make it into the right group at the start of the day. After nearly 100 km of fighting, a group finally managed to get away. Having been attentive near the front the whole time, waiting for the optimal moment, Woods was quick to get up the road and join the leading riders.

“From that moment on, I was trying to play my cards right,” Woods explained afterward. “I didn’t want to spend too much energy fighting Poels for the KOM points, but I also had to take more points than him, which was a difficult task because he’s so strong.”

On the following three categorized climbs, Woods picked up nine KOM points which put him in the virtual lead of the competition.

Unfortunately, on the penultimate descent, Woods suffered a minor crash, which meant he had to expend significant energy chasing back to the front group. Shortly after he made it back, Bauke Mollema [Trek-Segafredo] attacked and soloed away.

At the top of the last climb, Woods put in another strong effort, crossing the line in second place, sealing his move to the top of the ranking in the KOM competition.

“It was a nice feeling, knowing I had taken the jersey, but I was also cursing myself for crashing. I was so disappointed in myself. Still, I knew I was on a really good day and I’m really proud to be riding in the polka dot jersey tomorrow. Especially on familiar roads in Andorra,” Woods said.

In the end, Woods finished fifth on the stage, his second top-5 place in this year’s Tour de France after taking third on stage 8. An impressive result, but – to Woods – only one thing mattered today.

“Growing up, I didn’t know anything about cycling, but I always watched the Tour and I found that the KOM jersey was the coolest jersey of them all. It’s truly a dream come true to be in that jersey now. I hope I can get a good night’s sleep so my body can recover, and I will be able to enjoy it tomorrow.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com

Woods hunts for KOM points on stage 9 of the Tour

Israel Start-Up Nation put on an impressive team effort on stage 9 of the Tour de France, setting up Michael Woods to join the breakaway and go for KOM points. He’s now second in the competition for the polka dot jersey.

Despite digging deep on yesterday’s first day in the mountains, Woods was eager to get up the road once again, aiming to score points in the KOM competition. The ISN riders made sure that no dangerous groups went away on the opening kilometers before hitting the first climb of the day. At that point, Woods went to the front to follow the strong attacks, which ultimately saw him make it into a strong six-rider front group.

Woods scored KOM points on the first four categorized climbs, before giving in to the wet and cold conditions in the high mountains. Overall, the Canadian is now in second place, just eight points down on the leader in the king of mountains competition: Nairo Quintana (Arkea – Samsic). Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) still leads the race ahead of tomorrow’s rest day.

Michael Woods: “We took the front from the start and rode all the way towards the first climb. The guys were really awesome today. At the end, going head-to-head with Quintana took its toll. The accumulated fatigue from yesterday’s big effort and the cold weather today really started to impact me. I tried to play it the best way I could but following Quintana killed me and I blew up. The weather really affected me, and I could barely hold the handlebars on the descent. I was descending like a feather.

“However, we are still very much in the game [for the KOM]. It would have been nice to go for the stage win today but that wasn’t in the cards. Still, the fact that I was able to attack and be in the break after riding so hard yesterday gives me a lot of confidence. Now, I have two days to recover and then I’ll be good for the next stage.”

— MC to israelcyclingacademy.com