Michael Woods wins stage two to take overall lead at Tour du Var 2021

Woods takes over the GC top spot from Bauke Mollema with his first win for Israel Start-Up Nation

(Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It only took Michael Woods his debut race to achieve his first win for new team Israel Start-Up Nation, as he outclimbed GC leader Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) to take the stage victory and also the overall lead.

Only two seconds separated the top two on the stage, and the smaller margin of one second lies between them in the general classification, with tomorrow's mountain day, featuring three category one climbs, set to decide the overall winner.

Ineos Grenadiers' Jhonatan Narváez took third, just behind Mollema, on the stage two in Fayence, a trio of Frenchmen the next three to finish, Groupama-FDJ's David Gaudu and Rudy Molard, as well as Alexis Vuillermoz (Total Direct Energie), putting in a strong showing at their home race.

The likes of Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) finished 13 seconds back, retaining their places in the GC top 10, coming across the line with the same time as the British trio of Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos), Ben Tulett (Alpecin-Fenix) and Simon Carr (EF Education-Nippo).

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Ineos' Geraint Thomas finished 1-46 back, while Tom Pidcock was 3-09 in arrears in his debut race for the British team having been put to work on the front in the closing stages.

Woods simply rode the rest of the race off his wheel up the steep ramp to the line to take Israel Start-Up Nation's first victory of 2021.

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Tour des Alpes maritimes et du Var 2021, stage two: Fayence to Fayence (168.9km)

1. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation, in 9-07-15

2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at two seconds

3. Jhonatan Narváez (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, at same time

4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 6s

5. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Total Direct Energie, at 9s

6. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at same time

7. Ben O'Connor (Aus) Ag2r Citroën, at 11s

8. Jesus Herrada (Esp) Cofidis, at 13s

9. Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal-Wallonie

10. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos Grenadiers, both at same time

General classification after stage two

1. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation, in 9-07-15

2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at one second

3. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 6s

4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 9s

5. Ben O'Connor (Aus) Ag2r Citroën, at 11s

6. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 13s

7. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

8. Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal-Wallonie Bruxelles

9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa-Samsic

10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, all at same time

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