Hugo Houle is impatient. After months of uncertainty, he is about to start his season. And it’s the Tour of Italy in October that will be the highlight.
Those who discovered the Tour de France in 2019 will be having their third experience at the Giro. He also participated in 2015 and 2016.
“What is most important to me is being with a gang and having fun, he continues. The Tour, I’ll have the chance to do it again, I’m sure. But with the circumstances, this year, it led us to make this decision. It also allows me to do Quebec and Montreal.”
Houle will be able to participate in the Grands Prix cyclistes de Québec et Montréal to be held this year at the same time as the Great Loop.
“It will give more chances this year. There are never easy races, but when the best riders who have done the Tour de France are in good shape, it is harder to challenge them.”
The 29-year-old will once again be Dane’s lieutenant Jakob Fuglsang, one of the leaders of Team Astana, and he is already hopeful for the two races on Quebec soil.
“I am convinced that we have a chance, Jakob is doing very, very well, says Houle. He’s going very fast already. With what he showed last year and he also did a race this year, he should be the strongest. We will need a little luck too. ”
Houle and Fuglsang will spend the whole season together, they who have often trained together in the past few weeks on the roads near Monaco, where they reside. And they are delighted to find the majority of the runners with whom they formed a group in 2019.
An inseparable duo
“We’re happy, so the team respects that, he said. We have a good group. It has already worked well, so we will try to rebuild it. There are a few new runners, but we will have time to get to know each other better.”
Houle is preparing to find them again on July 9, while Astana will hold a two-week training camp in Livigno in the Italian Alps.
But with the many weeks spent surveying the roads near his home, he claims to be already in excellent physical condition.
“I’m happy to be here, said the former French team AG2R. I was able to climb a lot of passes, so it will allow me to progress, to make a good base of volume at low intensity. I find good feelings in training.”
“We did little tests, 12 and 3 minutes long, and I achieved personal power records. Being rested pays off.”
A perfect calendar
His first race could take place on August 1, at Strade Bianche, in Tuscany, for which he currently has the status of a reservist. But he is already confident that he will be in the Tour of Poland (August 5-9). Four or five other events are scheduled on his agenda before the World Championships in late September in Switzerland.
Before his departure for Italy, Hugo Houle will participate, on Saturday, in the first of six stages of the virtual Tour de France, in the comfort of his living room. A demanding challenge, but one that stimulates it much less than real road events.
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