Dean Woods is one of Australia’s most successful cyclists of the modern era. During his career he set one world record and four national records, and won 20 national titles and 15 state championships. He was three-time world cycling champion.
In 1983 Dean was the national individual pursuit champion. He also won the individual pursuit at the Junior World Championships in New Zealand, and defended this in 1984 in France. That same year, Dean was selected in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games team.
Woods, just 18 at the time, finished 0.05 seconds away from a bronze medal in the individual pursuit. He rode on a bike which had been discarded as out-of-date by another Australian cyclist, Gary West, further emphasising Woods talent.
In the 4000m team pursuit, the Australians were third fastest in the qualifying round, then beat the fastest qualifier, Italy, in the semi-final. In the final, against the United States, they had a break when the American rider Dave Grylls amazingly missed his pedal at the start, and dropped out. Only three need to finish in the team pursuit, and the Americans rode with just three for the entire course. Michael Turter and Woods set up the victory in the two blistering leading laps, and Kevin Nicholls and Michael Grenda were able to finish the job.
Also in 1984, Dean was the national record holder for the 3000m junior individual pursuit and the 4000m senior individual pursuit. He was also the European champion in the individual and team pursuits.
At the 1986 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games, Dean claimed two gold medals, one in the individual pursuit and the other in the team pursuit. He also won silver in the scratch race and then bronze in the points race. That same year Dean won bronze in the individual pursuit at the USA World Championships.
In 1987 Dean won the 6-Day Bassano Del Grappa event and finished fourth in the World Championships individual pursuit.
At the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, Dean won silver in the 4000m individual pursuit, to the USSR’s Gintautas Umaras. Woods sprinted to an early lead, but Umaras caught him at the half way mark and went on to win. Dean also took bronze in the team pursuit.
In 1989 Dean turned professional and raced for ‘Team Stuttgart’ in Germany. He raced throughout Europe with some success. He finished second in the GP Ardennes in Belgium and in the world professional individual pursuit. In France he took silver in the World Championships individual pursuit, and finished eighth in the Tour De O’Lois.
In 1990, back in Australia, Dean won the Melbourne Cup on Wheels, and clocked the fastest time in the Melbourne to Warrnambool Road Race, with 5 hours, 12 minutes for 266km. He finished fourth in the national pursuit championships and the world individual pursuit championship.
In 1992, he won the national individual and team pursuit championships. Overseas, he finished eighth in the Coca Cola Trophy in Germany and ninth in the Super Week, USA.
In 1993, Dean won ten races on the Australian circuit including the national individual and team pursuits. He won the Melbourne to Warrnambool Road Race again, and finished 12th in the Herald Sun Tour. Overseas he finished fifth in the Super Week, USA.
At the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, Dean was again part of the winning team pursuit. He also won bronze in the point race. That same year he won the national individual pursuit championship in a new national record. He also won four Criterium races in Germany and the 6-Day of Grenoble in France. He finished third in the World Championships team pursuit in Italy.
In 1995 he was a part of the winning pursuit team at the World Championships in Columbia, and won three Criterium races in Germany. He came second in the national individual pursuit championship. A year later at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Dean won bronze in the team pursuit.
In 1996, he won the national Madison championship in Melbourne and was second in the national individual pursuit championship. He finished fifth in the Open Des Nations in Paris.
In 1985 Dean was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his services to cycling.