3rd place for Hugo Houle in the Tour de France | A historic moment for cycling in Quebec

Five kilometers from Saint-Étienne, Guillaume Boivin went to look for Antoine Duchesne in the middle of the peloton. “I said, ‘Hey, great, there are three in front of them, and Hugo is there … ”He had goosebumps! »

Posted yesterday at 8:00 p.m.

Simon Drouin

Simon Drouin
The press

This made Duchesne’s teammate Stefan Küng unable to challenge for victory after spending the day in the breakaway.

“In my head, me animated not bad anymore for [Hugo] only for Küng, but that doesn’t have to be said! Duchesne laughed Friday afternoon after Houle’s historic third place finish at 13e stage of the Tour de France.

Houle simply found himself stronger than him in the person of former world champion Mads Pedersen. In Duchesne’s eyes, his friend needed little to realize the dream he shared with his brother, who died in an accident nearly 10 years ago.

I know Pierrik must have been up there watching it all the way. His dream is to go for a victory for him. But I think third place shouldn’t be far from your heart. It is well deserved.

Antoine Duchesne

Seventeenth of the stage, five minutes from the winner, Boivin enjoyed by delegation the performance of his Israeli-Premier Tech (IPT) teammate.

“Hugo is in extraordinary shape. I’m very proud and happy for him. It’s really a great day for Israel-Premier Tech, for Hugo and also for Quebec. We haven’t seen him that often.”

Boivin himself finished ninth in the great Paris-Roubaix classic last year. In 2013, David Veilleux won the first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he wore the yellow jersey for three days. This feat earned him an invitation to the Tour de France, a first for a native of Quebec.

This year, there are three Quebec cyclists at 109e Tower, a historic peak. If Houle made the colors of the lysine flower shine on Friday, a fact that earned him the congratulations of Prime Minister François Legault on social media, his two friends contributed in their own way in this issue.

During the post-race review on the bus of the IPT, Israeli-Quebec formation, Houle took the floor to emphasize the contribution of his teammates, in particular of “G”, Boivin’s nickname.

“It was Guillaume who controlled the leaks for the first 27 miles where everything was flat,” Houle said. I had to keep the group together so I could make a difference on the first climb. It does the job you don’t see all the time. It’s also teamwork so I can escape. »

Duchesne convinced his friend to save himself in the Alps so he could express himself in the stages for “adventurers” like Friday.

“Hugo tends to hold on and always push a little. He has trouble getting up. I told him, ‘The next two mountain stages, you know you won’t win them. Even on a getaway, you’ll always find yourself with one more climber. stronger than you, even if you can finish 30e, we do not care. Get up, don’t waste energy. ”

Duchesne and Boivin stressed the merits of Houle’s presence in this high-caliber group.


PHOTO CHRISTIAN HARTMANN, REUTERS

Hugo Houle (left) at the head of the fugitive group during the 13the stage between Le Bourg d’Oisans and Saint-Etienne, Friday

“It was going really fast, it was tough, there were a lot of people who wanted to be up front,” Duchesne said. It was a machine breakdown. »

“When these guys are in front, it means they fought really hard to be on the run,” Boivin added. You had to be very strong to be there. »

Sports director Steve Bauer, who was still in Houle in the IPT car, “never thought” that his protégé could join him as the sole Canadian stage winner of the Tour (1988).

I was definitely going to win, that’s why we’re here. He was doing his best to give him a chance to win. And he ran to win, no doubt. But when you are accompanied by the best in the world … It’s a bike race, they don’t give you anything on a silver plate. Today he was very lucky and made a fabulous race to finish third. He can be very proud of it.

Steve Bauer, sporting director of Israel-Premier Tech

As he said The press in Copenhagen before the start of the Tour, Bauer is convinced Houle has the potential to win a stage this year.

“He’s in top form and it was only a matter of time before he fell into a very strong breakaway. It’s about who you end up breaking up with.”

According to the sporting director, Houle should help his teammates on Saturday and play his card again on Sunday between Rodez and Carcassonne. Quebec would also have marked a Pyrenean stage.

A “taste”

Houle thrilled his parents on Friday. Drummondville residents first learned that their son had escaped before jumping into his car for a medical appointment in Montreal. On the road, they noticed that the difference with the peloton did not increase much … They followed the end of the stage in the clinic with a digital tablet that went down dangerously … “We managed to see the whole end, even when he congratulated [Mads] Pedersen, said his mother, Diane Allard. We were all angry. It couldn’t have been asked for better. Hugo is very disciplined. He puts all his energy into doing so. Hugo found time to call his parents shortly after arrival. “He said he wasn’t so tired. It means his form has improved a lot. When Hugo has something in his head, he has it in his head. He’ll achieve it, his goal. It wasn’t for today. Today has been just a taste … ”

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