Hugo Houle shows strength in the breakaway on Tour de France longest stage
Hugo Houle flew the Astana – Premier Tech flag in the breakaway on the seventh stage of the Tour de France, the longest stage in more than two decades at 249 kilometres, to cross the line in 12th place.
With the first part of the stage being flat, attacks were flying right after the start. In the end 28 riders, including Canadian Hugo Houle, formed the day´s break, building up an ample gap of four minutes on the peloton.
Various teams including UAE Team Emirates were not satisfied seeing some of the GC favourites among the daily breakaway and pulled desperately at the front of the peloton, to keep the gap close.
Approaching the final part of today’s stage, the break fell apart as later stage winner Matej Mohoric and Brent Van Moer attacked out of the breakaway. Behind, Houle showed incredible form riding in the second chasing group, with the yellow jersey.
Mohoric was able to hold his gap, taking a solo win in Le Creusot, while Houle crossed the line in a strong 12th place.
Alexey Lutsenko, who started the day fifth in the General Classification, and teammate Jakob Fuglsang finished in the main bunch five minutes later and now sit in eighth and 17th place overall respectively.
“I gave it all. At the end I was on the limit but I came back a few times. It was really hard from the start and when I looked around and saw the yellow jersey and guys like Van Aert, I thought maybe we wouldn’t go very far but the strength of the group was so good that it meant we could get away. The pace was really high all day, it was really, really impressive. I am really happy that I could get into a good breakaway like this. I was a bit short in power at the end but I am really proud of the way I rode and the fact that I gave everything. That’s how I want to ride the Tour, to keep trying and giving it everything I have,” Houle said.
Tour de France
Stage 7 Vierzon > Le Creusot (249km)
Top 3: 1. Matej Mahoric (Bahrain Victorious), 2. Jasper Stuyven (Trek Segafredo), 3. Magnus Cort (EF Education – Nippo)
Astana – Premier Tech top 3: 12. Hugo Houle, 24. Alexey Lutsenko, 38. Jakob Fuglsang
Photo: Getty Images