Canadian rider Hugo Houle wept after winning the Tour de France Stage 16 on Tuesday, dedicating his first professional victory to his brother.
When the Tour de France entered the Pyrenees, jumbo Jonas Vingegard maintained an overall lead from defending champions Tadej Pogačar and Ineos Geraint Thomas.
However, the 31-year-old Houle on the Israel-Premier Tech team was in charge of the day as a rider from Quebec won the heat wave that hit France.
“It sounds incredible, but I know my brother helped me,” says his brother Pierik’s emotional Houle, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver 10 years ago. I did.
“He went running in the snow and was beaten to death on the side of the road. It took me three hours to find him.
“It was my dream to win the stage after the Tour de France left us,” added Houle, who started competing with his brother in a triathlon before devoting himself to cycling.
Shortly after leaving Carcassonne’s Bakingstone Citadel, the remaining 149 riders, 172 from Copenhagen, began climbing cooler areas when the stage reached an altitude of 1600m.
A group of eight left and overtook the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in full uniform. It was a good sign for lead rider Houle, who slid down his rivals in a 25km plunge to Foix’s baking finish line on the banks of the Ariege.
As he promised, 23-year-old Slovenian Pogačar relentlessly attacked shortly after leaving the plains for the first three days in the mountains between France and Spain.
Dane Vingegard skipped every time and took a tailwind, but Ineos never tried to bring either Thomas or Adam Yates forward.
It was a great day for Colombian veteran Nairo Quintana to move up to 4th place on the stage where she entered her favorite terrain.
Groupama-FDJ’s David Gaudu took some time on the climbs in the two top categories, holding it on a long downhill where overhanging trees create a dangerous stroboscopic effect, after which Home Hope’s David Gaudu came in fifth. ..
On the contrary, French rider Romain Bardet wilted, as Yates wilted three years after his twin brothers won the stage ending in Foix.
“I don’t know,” the pale Balde then told journalists that he first took an ice bath right after the stage.
“I was trembling, and my head was banging.”
Valde is currently in a drift of 6 minutes and 37 seconds from the lead, or 3rd to 4 minutes.
Vingegard ridiculed the idea of taking an ice bath.
“No, I can’t stand it,” he said.
Dane was his usual cool photo, but after falling to stage 15 and throwing his bike in a nasty way, he lost cool.
“I’m taking it all at once. I expect Tadej to keep attacking me, and I have to be ready to jump and not allow him a gap. Hmm.
“Today the whole team helped me. I’m grateful to all of them,” he said.
“We take it all at once and see where things are when we get to Paris,” he said.
Houle will be the first Canadian to win the stage in the race since Steve Bauer in 1988.
“For my family, I’m back in the race,” said Houle. “They were telling me on the radio.” Just enjoy it and calm down.
“I was supposed to pave the way for Michael Woods,” he said of his teammates and compatriots. He’s coming with a new generation of Canadians, “he said.
The tour now spends two days in the upper part of the Pyrenees, where the winner of the 2022 yellow jersey is likely to be determined.