Tokyo Time, Mr. Fourth Week


The Men's Olympic Road Race will take place in Tokyo at 10pm ET Friday on a hilly course including the Mount Fuji climb. The hilly parcour will either favour the climbers but a descent and flat finish could also favour the puncheurs who can hold on to the final climb. 

Over 4,865 metres of climbing will definitely advantage the climbers.

Michael Woods has a chance.

Rusty Woods finished 55th in the Rio 2016 Games road race, who threw up during the race, called the hilly 241.50-kilometre Olympic circuit "the hardest race of my life."

He crashed twice in the lead-up to the Rio Games, breaking his hand at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and suffering a fracture of his left femur at the Tour of Poland. He still competed in the Olympic race. 

"My life goal at that time was to do the Olympics. And so come hell or high water, I was doing that race. After that race I realized how bad my body was. Yet I was still able to compete there. In many ways it was a career-defining moment for me because I was flying back and I had checked off the box of making the Olympics. And I felt like I could go so much higher in the sport. 

"And so instead of resting on having achieved that goal. I decided 'OK, this is time to reset my focus and set the bar higher.'"

Now, it's GO TIME and he has another chance in the 234-kilometre Tokyo Olympic road race in Japan. He will be racing alongside fellow Canadians Hugo Houle and Guillaume Boivin, who helped him to a 12th-place finish at the UCI Road World Championship in Imola, Italy last September. 

"I think we have a real shot to win a medal with him. So I want to be 100 percent behind him. I think he deserves it and he's shown that he can be top-level like he did in Innsbruck jumping on the podium of the road race (winning bronze at the 2018 Road Cycling World Championship)."

-Hugo Houle

Unlike Rio, he managed to avoid major injury although he did leave after Stage 18 at the Tour to fly to Japan early to get used to the heat and humidity.

"I'm always at my best the week after a Grand Tour. I get better over the course of a Grand Tour. In my previous team on EF they used to call me Mr. Fourth Week. If a race went another week, I'd just be even better. You just get into race mode. Instead of putting another race on a pedestal, you just treat it as another day at the office almost.

"The Mikuni Pass, which will likely be the defining climb of the race, really suits me. It's quite steep. It's going to be a hard man's race. I think it will be a good one for me."

-Rusty Woods

"It's a grueling course. it's a very demanding course for climbers and that's why Mike is by far our best shot at a medal because he's shown he's one of the best in the world in that kind of terrain. We've got already good chemistry between the three of us. And then a clear goal for the Games to try to go get a medal for Mike."

-Guillaume Boivin