Why can’t anyone follow Michael Woods up a steep climb

Why can’t anyone follow Michael Woods up a steep climb

Lucas van der Storm

In North American schools and universities, athletics is a major sport. Many Dutch talents also cross the ocean to combine intensive training with study. Some come back stronger, others get injured. Quite a risk, especially for endurance athletes who run a lot of kilometers. In doing so, they are repeatedly forced to deal a blow several times their own body weight.

So it was with Michael Woods. He was once one of Canada’s greatest talents. As a junior, he actually ran the mile under 4 minutes. Magic frontiers on the American continent. For those who find it difficult to understand how fast it is: more than 24 kilometers per hour. The pace can only be maintained for a long time in the fight against acidification, unbearable pain in the legs.

Woods’ star rose quickly, but his body protested along the way. Foot injuries prevented him from achieving his Olympic dreams. The bike offered the solution, and how. Of late, the Canadian finished second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, third in the World Cup and two-stage winner at the Tour of Spain. On Sunday, aged 36, he won his first Tour stage on the Puy-de-Dôme side.

Climb wrote on the body of the former runner. Two minutes later, the steep four-kilometre descent began, with rates of more than 10 percent. Strips where even the best professional cyclists do not reach 24 kilometers per hour.

Jorgenson, Mohoric, Powless: The cyclists in front of him slowly unloaded. Not ex-runner Woods. He won the fight against acidosis, against the unbearable pain in his legs. His promising running career may have come to an end. But it’s also the basis for the existence of cycling that hardly anyone can follow on a short, steep climb.

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