Yates wins Tirreno Adriatico, Canada’s Woods finishes eighth

Britain's Simon Yates celebrates winning the Tirreno Adriatico cycling race, in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy, Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. (Fabio Ferrari/LaPresse via AP)

SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy — Simon Yates held off a final-stage challenge from Geraint Thomas to win the eight-day Tirreno-Adriatico race Monday and set himself up as one of the favourites for the Giro d’Italia.

Canadian Michael Woods, who took the overall lead after winning Stage 3, finished eighth overall — 2:12 behind the leader. The 33-year-old from Ottawa also led after Stage 4 but dropped to eighth overall after an 11th-place showing in the fifth stage.

Woods now turns his attention to the 2020 UCI Road World Championships, slated for Sept. 24-27 in Imola, Italy.

In the concluding 10-kilometre individual time trial, Thomas finished 22 seconds ahead of Yates but that wasn’t enough for the 2018 Tour de France champion to overcome the 39-second deficit he opened the day with.

Yates, a British rider with the Mitchelton-Scott team who won the 2018 Spanish Vuelta, finished 17 seconds ahead of Thomas in the overall standings.

“I was not the favourite today so this result is even more important to me,” Yates said. “I went full gas. I gave my best in every stage.”

Rafal Majka dropped from second to third overall, 29 seconds behind.

Italian champion Filippo Ganna, a teammate of Thomas’ with Ineos, won Monday’s time trial in just under 11 minutes. Victor Campenaerts finished second, 18 seconds behind, and Rohan Dennis was third, 26 seconds behind.

Thomas finished fourth in the time trial, 28 seconds behind Ganna, while Yates was 18th, 50 seconds behind.

Woods’ EF Pro Cycling Team was third in the time trial.

The entirely flat time trial started and ended in San Benedetto Del Tronto along the Adriatic coast.

Yates and Thomas are expected to be among the favourites for the Giro d’Italia next month.

“I’m very happy with my performance but I’m a bit sorry for Thomas who finished second in the (overall standings),” Ganna said. “We hope he can do better in the Giro d’Italia.”

Four-time Tour champion Chris Froome, who was dropped from Ineos’ Tour team this year, finished more than an hour behind Yates in the overall standings.

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