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

Canada's Michael Woods. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

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.

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