Ottawa cyclist Michael Woods finishes second in 14th stage of Spanish Vuelta

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ORENSE, Spain — Ottawa cyclist Michael Woods finished second in Wednesday's 14th stage of the Spanish Vuelta.

Woods narrowly missed his second stage win of the event, finishing just behind Tim Wellens.

Woods has had some big performances at the prestigious multi-stage race, winning the seventh stage and finishing second in the sixth. Wednesday's result moved him up one spot to 27th in the overall classification.

Wellens won his second stage, with defending champion Primoz Roglic keeping his overall lead over Richard Carapaz.

Wellens, who had also won the fifth leg, sprinted to victory ahead of Woods and Zdenek Stybar in an unusually fast 14th stage that took riders 204 kilometres through hilly Galician terrain.

Wellens, the Belgian rider of team Lotto Soudal, dominated on the uphill finish after staying in the breakaway group for most of the stage.

“It was not easy to win. There was a big fight to get in the breakaway and then all my companions were really strong riders,” Wellens said. "I knew I had to be in the front position in the last corner. I felt Woods coming but the finish line was there and I crossed it first. I knew today suited me very well. Everything was perfect.”

The overall leaders finished together in the peloton, crossing the line almost four minutes behind Wellens. Slovenian rider Roglic maintained a 39-second lead over Carapaz entering the final stages of the three-week race. Hugh Carthy stayed third, 47 seconds off the pace.

“It was quite a fast and hard stage all the way to the finish line," Roglic said. “It was again a good day for us.”

Montreal's James Piccoli was 84th in Wednesday's stage to move up seven spots to 115th overall.

Thursday's 15th stage will be the longest of the Vuelta this year, taking riders 230 kilometres through a winding terrain that will favour escapes at the front.

The Vuelta is being held amid tight health restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic. It will finish on Sunday in Madrid.

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