Today’s Ottawa Citizen has an article about Michael Woods, an Ottawa area cyclist who will be racing in the European pro peloton this coming year. He will officially become part of the Cannondale-Garmin team at the beginning of 2016.
The interesting thing about Michael Woods is that he only started getting involved in serious competitive cycling 3 or 4 years ago. It’s almost unheard of for someone to reach the highest level of professional cycling in such a short period of time. However, Michael Woods was an elite athlete before he took up serious cycling. He was a middle-distance runner who had set a number of Canadian records, and who had every intention of competing in the Olympics. Unfortunately, a reoccurring foot injury put an end to his running career.
Initially, he turned to cycling just to stay in shape, but in 2011 he started to do some racing, and soon reached the ranks of pro cycling.
The last time I looked, Michael Woods still had the best time for a Strava segment in the Gatineau Park. Now that he’s a full fledge member of the pro peloton, I’m sure a lot of local cyclists will be looking for bragging rights by trying to beat his time for this Strava segment.
It is ironic that he joins Cannondale-Garmin just as Ryder Hesjedal leaves that team to start racing with Trek Factory Racing for the 2016 season. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ryder Hesjedal, he is currently Canada’s best road cyclist. He won the Giro d’Italia in 2012, and came in 6th in Tour de France in 2010.)
It is worth noting that Michael Woods isn’t the only local cyclist to reach the Pro Peloton in Europe. In the mid-1990s, Gord Fraser, who is originally from Nepean, raced for pro teams in Europe.