Ottawa cyclist Mike Woods leads French race after Stage 2 victory

Canadian Michael Woods won the second stage of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var on Saturday, moving into the overall lead of the three-day race.

It marked the first victory for the 34-year-old cyclist from Ottawa in the colours of Israel Startup Nation, his new team.

“This was excellent, and the team rode so well for me,” Woods said from Fayence, France. “I’m just glad I could return the favour.”

The Canadian, who was fourth in Stage 1 Friday, moved into the overall lead by two seconds ahead of Stage 1 winner Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands.

Woods made his move on the last climb Saturday, outgunning Mollema in a sprint to the finish.

“I felt good and I knew I had to commit to that climb,” he said.

Fellow Canadian Hugo Houle, riding for Astana-Premier Tech, figured in an early break Saturday and finished 73rd in the stage. He moved up 22 points in the general classification to 82nd.

The race ends Sunday with a 136-kilometre stage.