Tour de France: « It’s exciting for the future » -Hugo Houle
The 109th edition of the Tour de France started Friday in Copenhagen, Denmark, and it didn’t take long to see a first twist in the legendary race. Belgian Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) surprised many, including himself, by winning the 13.2 kilometer time trial to take the top spot in the provisional general classification after the first stage.
Lampaert started while his compatriot Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) had been in charge of the race for a while and no one seemed able to dislodge him. Lampaert completed a faultless run to edge Van Aert by five seconds. He was not worried afterwards.
“I was on the course at the same time as Lampaert. He was very impressive and I think he was an eye opener with that performance. He’s a very solid competitor, it’s not a surprise for me, but I don’t think many observers had him in their top-5 before the race,” commented Quebecer Hugo Houle.
Under a cloudy sky and showers at times, Houle (Israel – Premier Tech) was the best Quebecer of the day, finishing 47 seconds from the winner, which earned him 40th place. Houle was also the best cyclist of the day for Israel – Premier Tech. His teammate Guillaume Boivin took 129th place (+1 minute 26 seconds).
“I produced a very good effort today (Friday) and I felt really good on the course. You had to be careful in the turns, the circuit was wet and I had to be careful. I was not playing for victory, so I was conservative. It’s exciting for the future,” explained Houle, who is taking part in his fourth Tour de France.
For his part, Antoine Duchesne (Groupama – FDJ) gave the first pedal strokes of his career at the Tour de France. He finished in 105th place (+1 minute 14 seconds).
» Everything went well ! I’m really happy that the Tour has started. The last few days were long waiting for everything to get going. The weather was difficult, I didn’t want to take unnecessary risks and I put in a good effort on the straights. I’m ready for what’s next,” said Duchesne.
Still in Denmark
The Grande Boucle remains in Denmark for the second stage which will be presented on Saturday when a 202.2 kilometer course is on the program between Roskilde and Nyborg.
“The objective is to stay close to Jakob Fuglsang to give him the best chance for the general classification. We are going like that for the first few days and we will reassess our strategy afterwards,” concluded Hugo Houle.