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“This is the biggest day in Hugo’s career, so we’ll definitely have something to celebrate tonight,” Froome said at the line.
Houle attacked out of a breakaway group on the final climb and then soloed home to deliver Canada’s first stage win at the Tour since Steve Bauer won a stage in 1988.
The 31-year-old joined the team this season after racing four seasons with Astana. A WorldTour pro since 2013, Tuesday’s victory was Houle’s first since turning pro.
“Hugo is an amazing teammate, absolutely selfless, nothing is ever too much for him. He’s always up for everything. He’s a tough guy,” Froome said. “[It’s great] to see someone like him to have had the chance for the win, who normally gives 100 percent for his team leaders, and to have gone for it.
“Anyone looking at that breakaway would have said Woodsie [Michael Woods, third] would have been the best option of winning on such a mountainous stage, but getting that gap, and he’s an amazing time trialist, and he held it,” Froome said. “He 100 percent deserves that win.”
- Hugo Houle soloes to Canada’s first stage win since 1988
- Houle wins for brother, team, nation
- Froome lights up Alpe d’Huez with third
Froome is enjoying a solid Tour so far this year, capped by third on the Alpe d’Huez stage last week. Froome finished in a group Tuesday that included Enric Mas (Movistar) and he moved up four spots into 25th overall.
“Amazing day for the team,” Froome said. “Getting one stage win with Clarke on the cobbles was massive for us. To win again today, I am speechless, we couldn’t ask for much more.”