Ottawa cyclist Mike Woods grabs lead of Swiss race after queen stage win


Geraint Thomas crashed to the rain-soaked road in a sprint finish in the main mountains stage of the Tour de Romandie on Saturday, gifting victory and the leader’s yellow jersey to Canadian Mike Woods.

Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France winner, had taken the lead in a two-rider race to the finish of a chilly, 161-kilometre stage when he slipped out of the saddle with about 30 metres left.

“I just had no feeling whatsoever in my hands,” he said from Thyon, Switzerland. “I tried to change gear, but instead I just lost the bars. It’s so frustrating.”

The most difficult portion of a multi-day road race is considered the queen stage that typically involves numerous difficult climbs.

Woods crossed the line alone, 17 seconds ahead of Ben O’Connor, who rounded Thomas as the Welshman remounted and slowly got moving again to finish third.

Event ends with 16 km time trial

Thomas lost 21 seconds in the stage and trailed Canadian Woods by 11 seconds overall.

The six-day race through the French-speaking region of Switzerland ends on Sunday with a 16 km time trial where Thomas is favoured to win back time.

“I feel fine [physically], it’s more the frustration after such a hard day, to lose time like that at the end,” Thomas said. “Eleven seconds behind, so it’s all to play for.”

O’Connor is third in the overall standings, trailing Woods by 21 seconds.

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