“The best grand tour of my career” – Hugo Houle

(Sportcom) – Behind the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) who confirmed his victory in the Tour de France on the Champs Élysées on Sunday, the Quebecer Hugo Houle (Astana) completed the “best grand tour” of his career, in 47th place overall.

“I've had the chance to do others before, but this one was definitely the best,” he said a few hours after the finish. I'm very happy with my physical condition, the way the team ran. I felt good physically over the three weeks. I made further progress this year and it is encouraging for the future. I had a lot of fun.”

See this post on Instagram

Job done ✅, 2nd @letourdefrance finished! #champselysees #astanaproteam

A post shared by Hugo Houle (@hugohoule) on Sep 20, 2020 at 10:40 am PDT

The day after a spectacular turnaround in the time trial where Pogacar stole the yellow jersey from his compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), the riders completed the 21st and final stage. As he celebrates his 22nd birthday on Monday, Pogacar has thus become the youngest winner of the Tour in over a hundred years. He kept his lead of 59 seconds over Roglic at the top of the general classification at the end of the 122-kilometer course between Mantes-la-Jolie and Paris. The Australian Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) completed the podium (+ 3 minutes 30 seconds).

The Irishman Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step), in green, won at the very end ahead of the Dane Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and the Slovakian Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), his closest pursuer in the standings points. For Bennett, this is a second victory at this Tour de France 2020.

Rolling in the peloton, Houle took 74th place on this last stage, 21 seconds behind Bennett.

See this post on Instagram

The last 2 stages were really hard and important for GC, strong riding by @miguelsuperlopez. We did well all together @proteamastana. #hhpower # tdf2020 #astanaproteam 📸 @wiliertriestina

A post shared by Hugo Houle (@hugohoule) on Sep 18, 2020 at 1:05 am PDT

“I am very happy to have completed these three weeks. We put a lot of effort into it so it's always a relief when you arrive in Paris, ”he said.

A great landmark tour

Participating in the Tour de France for the second consecutive year, Houle distinguished himself with five stage top-15s. The 29-year-old veteran also obtained the best Quebec result in history with a seventh place in stage 12.

“There is this top-10. And the day (7th stage) when we drove forward in the edging to gain an advantage over the opponents was a great moment too. I was very proud of myself. These two days were my best moments of the Tour ”, he recalled.

Astana's leader, Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez, finished the Tour de France in sixth place (+6 minutes 47 seconds). Hugo Houle ensures that his team leaves very proud of its performance.

See this post on Instagram

That feeling when you see @alafpolak attack with 1 km to go in the last climb! @proteamastana 📸 ASO / Pauline Ballet

A post shared by Hugo Houle (@hugohoule) on Sep 10, 2020 at 9:52 am PDT

The only Canadian of this edition completed the 21 stages at 2 h 39 min 54 s from the winner. In 2019, the cyclist from Sainte-Perpétue finished 91st in the general classification and obtained an individual top-15 at the last stage.

In his experience of big tours, Houle also took part in the Giro in 2015 and in 2016, as well as in the Vuelta in 2017.

Before him in the Tour de France, the Quebecer David Veilleux (Team Europcar) completed the Tour in 123rd place in the general classification in 2013 and Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie) finished in 107th place in 2016.

A grand tour in times of pandemic

This 2020 edition will also have proven that it is possible to hold a major cycling tour in the context of a pandemic. In addition, there were only 5,000 spectators to welcome the cyclists on the Champs Élysées, but the Quebec runner did not notice a significant difference compared to the usual crowd.

“In the current context, it was a great event. […] It was very well organized and we had a very good turn despite the presence of COVID-19, underlined Hugo Houle. There were people in the stands, a great atmosphere in Paris. But anyway, we are focused in the effort. On the cobbles, it vibrates a lot and you have to stay alert on the road. ”

Although summer is drawing to a close, Hugo Houle's season is far from over. Starting next week, he will represent Canada at the World Championships in Italy from September 24-27. He will participate in the road race.

Share Button