Weekend Roundup: Woods secures Tour de France stage win, silver for women’s eight in Switzerland
It was a weekend marked by a long-awaited breakthrough. In his fourth appearance at the Tour de France, Michael Woods delivered a most incredible climax to the ninth stage, riding through the finish line solo for the victory.
If that wasn’t enough excitement, the crew of the Canadian women’s eight reached the podium at the final World Rowing Cup stop of the season and Team Canada closed out the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup with their own podium finish.
Here’s a quick look at what else you might have missed:
Road Cycling: Michael Woods becomes third Canadian to win a Tour de France stage
With a race plan executed to perfection, 36-year-old Michael Woods conquered the ninth stage of the Tour de France on Sunday. It is his first career victory at the most prestigious of the Grand Tours as he becomes just the third Canadian to ever win a stage of the Tour de France.
With a challenging mountain top finish well suited to his skills, Woods did his best to be well positioned from the start of the stage. But with about 45km to go, he was more than two minutes behind the breakaway heading into the final climb. Completely determined, Woods put the pedal to the metal and picked off every rider ahead of him, including the leader Matteo Jorgenson, just 500 metres from the finish.
“I’m so happy. Winning a stage in the Tour de France is something I’ve always wanted to do, and talked about doing, but is never something I’ve achieved and I finally did it today”, Woods said after the big win. He covered the 182.4km stage in four hours 19 minutes and 41 seconds. He and the rest of the riders have a scheduled rest day on Monday before racing continues again on Tuesday.
In 1988, Steve Bauer was the first Canadian to win a Tour de France stage. It took 34 years for another Canadian to match that feat, when Hugo Houle won the 16th stage just last year.
Rowing: World Cup silver for women’s eight in Lucerne
For the second year in a row, the Canadian women’s eight has won silver at the third and final World Rowing Cup of the season in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The crew of Jessica Sevick, Kasia Gruchalla-Wesierski, Alexis Cronk, Kirsten Edwards, Sydney Payne, Avalon Wasteneys, Kristina Walker, Morgan Rosts and coxswain Kristen Kit covered the 2000m course in 6 minutes 3.57 seconds. That put them on the podium just behind Great Britain by three-quarters of a second.
The Canadian men’s eight also raced in their A final on Sunday. They finished sixth while learning some valuable insights to help in their preparations for the World Rowing Championships in September. Jill Moffatt and Jenny Casson won the B final in the women’s lightweight double sculls to place seventh overall. The Canadian women’s quad sculls crew also won their B final in just their second international race together.
Basketball: Canada captures bronze at FIBA Women’s AmeriCup
Team Canada finished off their time at the FIBA Women’s AmeriCup on a high note, earning an 80-73 win over Puerto Rico in the battle for third place.
Canada had posted a perfect 4-0 record during group play before handing Argentina a 68-60 loss in the quarterfinals. That set up a semifinal date with the United States. That game was consequential, as the top team in the tournament other than the already qualified Americans would advance directly to the FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in February 2024.
Unfortunately, the Canadians were on the wrong side of a tight 67-63 score. Brazil ended up defeating the U.S. in the final to get the direct route to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Canada will instead have to play in Pre-Qualifying Tournament, the date and location to be confirmed.
Beach Volleyball: Fifth straight top-five for Melissa & Brandie
At the Beach Pro Tour Elite 16 tournament in Gstaasd, Switzerland, Melissa Humana-Paredes and Brandie Wilkerson lost a tight quarterfinal match to Americans Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes 2-1 (22-20, 18-21, 11-15) on Saturday afternoon.
The Canadian pair had gone 2-1 in Pool B, earning straight sets victories over Latvian and Swiss teams. Despite a three-set loss to the number two team in the world, they narrowly edged out Australians Clancy and Mariafe for top spot in the group. After taking the first set of the quarterfinals, Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson couldn’t close it out against the team ranked fifth in the world.
The Canadians’ path to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games marches on as they have now secured top-five finishes in each of their five Beach Pro Tour events this season, highlighted by a victory at the Challenge event in mid-June in Jurmala, Latvia. Their next Elite 16 event will be on home sand in Montreal, July 26-30.
Tennis: Week two appearance at Wimbledon for Shapovalov
Denis Shapovalov made it as far as the fourth round of men’s singles at Wimbledon. It is the second-farthest he has advanced at the famed Grand Slam event, only behind his semifinal appearance in 2021. Shapovalov was eliminated in four sets by 92nd-ranked Roman Safiullin (6-3, 3-6, 1-6, 3-6) on Sunday.
Shapovalov had been the last Canadian standing in either singles draw. Bianca Andreescu was eliminated in the women’s third round on Saturday by last year’s finalist Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. Andreescu had taken the first set 6-3 before dropping the next two 3-6, 4-6.
Trampoline: Second straight final for Méthot
Sophiane Méthot was Canada’s top performer at the FIG Trampoline World Cup in Coimbra, Portugal as she finished seventh in the women’s individual final. It is the second straight World Cup at which Méthot had been a finalist.
Rachel Tam and Samantha Smith won bronze in the women’s synchro event, which is not included on the Olympic program.