Tour de France: Houle achieves 'dream' stage win after family tragedy as Vingegaard keeps Pogacar at bay

By Sports Desk July 19, 2022 420

Hugo Houle dedicated victory on stage 16 of the Tour de France to his late brother as Jonas Vingegaard kept a tight hold on the yellow jersey.

Canadian Houle lost brother Pierrik in December 2012 when he died in a hit-and-run crash while jogging in Sainte-Perpetue, Quebec.

Almost 10 years later, Houle pointed to the sky as he crossed the line alone after the 178.5-kilometre ride from Carcassonne to Foix, earning his first Grand Tour stage win.

"This one is for my brother, man," said an emotional Houle, moments later.

The riders were put to the test over the climbs of Port de Lers and Mur de Peguere in the second half of Tuesday's stage, as the race reached the Pyrenees after a rest day.

The three days in the mountains only get tougher from here, and Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar will be duking it out in the push for the peaks before they look to clinch victory in Paris on Sunday. Geraint Thomas remains third, with the top three starting the day precisely as they began it.

Pogacar and Vingegaard were playing cat and mouse on Port de Lers, with the man in yellow refusing to let his nearest rival make up any ground in the general classification, practically setting up camp on his back wheel.

Far away in the distance, Houle (Israel-Premier Tech) was almost riding a separate race, with France's Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) taking second place, over a minute down the road, and Houle's fellow Canadian and team-mate Michael Woods in third.

Matteo Jorgensen came off on a corner late on as his grip gave way, costing the American valuable seconds that pushed him out of contention to win the stage, eventually coming home fourth.

Brotherly love as Houle savours long-awaited win

Houle was close to tears as he took in the magnitude of his victory.

He said: "I never win a race, so I guess it's the right place to win my first race.

"When I attacked, it was basically to set the table for Michael Woods. When I saw they let me go, Mike made a gap, I just went full gas. At the end, I hung on. I was suffering so bad in the steep climbs.

"I made it, and it means a lot to me. I had one dream: to win the stage for my brother who died when I turned professional, and today that one is for him. I've worked for 10, 12 years, and today I got my win for him, so it's incredible. I'm just so happy."

STAGE RESULTS

1. Hugo Houle (Israel-Premier Tech) 4:23:47
2. Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) +1:10
3. Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) +1:10
4. Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) +1:12
5. Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ) +1:25

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification

1. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 64:28:09
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) +2:22
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +2:43

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 399
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE-Team Emirates) 182
3. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) 176

King of the Mountains

1. Simon Geschke (Cofidis) 58
2. Louis Meintjes (Intermarche–Wanty–Gobert Materiaux) 39
3. Neilson Powless (EF Education–Easypost) 37

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Last modified on Tuesday, 19 July 2022 13:20
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