The two riders finished stage 18 in Luz Ardiden on Thursday but chose not to start stage 19 on Friday.Woods had always made a big target of the Olympics and doubted he would drive to Paris, until he was announced as the overall candidate for Israel Start-Up Nation shortly before the Tour.
However, those ambitions were dashed on opening day when he got caught up in the Massive Stage One crash. He has since turned to stage hunting and the polka dot jersey, placing third in stage 8 in the Alps and fifth in stage 14 in Quillan.
The latter put him in the peas but he only held one day before Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) tore the jersey.
The two riders fought for points on Thursday’s last mountain stage, with Poels clear on the Col du Tourmalet, although the jersey eventually went to the leader of General Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates).
Woods chose not to travel to Paris, which gave him more time to recover and travel to Tokyo.
“In order to recover properly from his past falls on the Tour de France and to prepare for the Olympic Games, Michael Woods will not take the start at today’s stage”, one can read in a press release. ‘Israel Start-Up Nation Friday morning.
As for López, early crashes also ruined his overall ranking plans after entering the race in great shape.
The Colombian has since been more discreet but has rallied to support Enric Mas in the Pyrenees. His Spanish teammate placed fourth in Luz Ardiden to move up to sixth in the overall standings.
As with Woods, the fact that there is only one flat stage and a time trial left before the last race to Paris means that there is not much to gain for López beyond ‘reach the finish.
“A difficult race for him, with many setbacks at the start. With the mountains now over, having helped the team as much as he could, he will now focus on rest for the events to come, ”read a statement from Movistar.
López was only named a reserve in the Colombian squad for Toyko, with the top five instead going to Rigoberto Urán, Sergio Higuita, Esteban Chaves, Nairo Quintana and Daniel Martínez.
However, Colombian journalist Hector Urrego reported last night that it was possible that López was now called up and had left the Tour with the Olympics in mind.
As for Woods, he has a more decisive leadership role in Canada’s squad of three, alongside Hugo Houle and Guillaume Boivin.
The elite men’s road race will take place on a hilly course near Mount Fuji on Saturday, July 24.