Posted by Editoress on 10/12/14
In his last outing of the season, Canada's Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale) finished 23rd at Paris-Tours, the 1.HC santioned UCI race.
Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) won the sprint ahead of Frenchman Thomas Voeckler (Europcar). The Belgian won the race of 237 kilometres in 5 hours 26 minutes 18 seconds. Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) finished third, at 12 seconds.
Houle finished in the same group as Debusschere, just behind his teammate Belarusian Yauheni Hutarovich.
"I did my job to the letter. It was a long race and in the last 40 kilometres, there were a lot of turns. There was rain all day and with the leaves falling, it was very slippery. There were a dozen falls, but I managed to dodge all that," said Houle.
"The race really played out in the last 30 kilometres where there were three climbs. I managed to position myself well in the first one. In the second, there was a group of ten riders who got away. On the last climb, there was no one in front. I had my sprinter Hutarovich with me so I rode as hard as possible for about three kilometres to bring him back into the group."
"Then, my day was done . I stayed in his wheel to finish 23rd, but I did not sprint. I really worked for Hutarovich in the last five kilometres. Unfortunately for him, he failed to profit. But in terms of my work, I'm very happy and so is the team."
Houle had a very busy last week on the circuit. Last Sunday, at the Tour de Vendée (UCI 1.1), he made a solo breakaway before being caught five kilometres from the finish. He finished 55th, 25 seconds behind the winner, Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne Séché Environnement).
On Tuesday in Belgium at Binche-Chimay-Binche (UCI 1.1), he joined the breakaway to finish 18th. He finished 12 seconds behind the winner, Zdenek Stybar (Omega Parma-Quickstep). He also raced on Thursday in Paris-Bourges (UCI 1.1).
"I was not sure how I would feel this week since I arrived from Quebec on Saturday. The week went super well and I could not ask for better. It finishes the season well and it allows me to go on rest with peace of mind, "said Houle, who finished his second season on the World Tour.
"I'm happy because I see a nice progression. This year I have really gained strength. I am able to be a player in racing all levels. The team is also happy with my progress so everything goes in the right direction," concluded Houle, who will ride again for AG2R La Mondiale next season.
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