Riding for Israel-Premier Tech, the Canadian climber was among a large breakaway pack that established a commanding lead of over ten minutes, leading up to the iconic climb in the Auvergne region.
After trailing some breakaway remnants, Woods managed his stamina and steadily outpaced his adversaries, including Neilson Powless (EF Education-Easy Post) and Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious).
Ultimately, Woods overtook Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar), soloing his way to the finish line.
“My career ambition was this very achievement. Undoubtedly, it is the most significant victory in my cycling career,” shared Woods. “As I approach 37 this year, I felt the opportunity to win a Tour stage was dwindling.
“But achieving a stage win now, it’s nothing less than a dream come true. I’m exceptionally proud and incredibly thankful.”
Initially trailing on the lower inclines, Woods had to make a monumental effort to rejoin the race lead, thus, the victory was far from guaranteed. He confessed that clinching the ninth stage was one of his long-standing aspirations.
“Indeed, that was the goal [to win the stage],” he revealed. “You dream about it, of course. I’d never claimed a stage at the Tour before, so it wasn’t a sure thing by any means.”
The much-awaited return of the Tour to Puy de Dôme attracted enormous roadside crowds, making Woods’ ascent up the legendary climb even more unforgettable.
“The noise was overwhelming,” he recalled. “When I was about five kilometres away, the sheer number of fans, right before the barriers began, was astounding. It was so loud, and then suddenly there was silence around the four-kilometre mark.
“I was left alone with my thoughts, looking up the road, and methodically overtaking one rider after another. It was a unique mental experience and incredibly exciting to go through.”
“The climb is just extraordinary,” he further noted. “You can spot it from a significant distance during the approach. Its uniqueness comes from the absence of fans, which reminded me of the Covid-era races from a few years back.
“It’s a truly picturesque climb, and simultaneously, one of the toughest stages you could possibly attempt.”
Stage 9 results
- Michael Woods, Israel-Premier Tech, 04:19:41
- Pierre Latour, TotalEnergies, +0:28
- Matej Mohoric, Bahrain Victorious, +0:35
- Matteo Jorgenson, Movistar Team, +0:35
- Clément Berthet, AG2R Citroën Team, +0:55
- Neilson Powless, EF Education-EasyPost, +1:23
- Alexey Lutsenko, Astana Qazaqstan Team, +1:39
- Jonas Gregaard, Uno-X Pro Cycling Team, +1:58
- Mathieu Burgaudeau, TotalEnergies, +2:16
- David De La Cruz, Astana Qazaqstan Team, +2:34