1708081227 Hugo Houle will begin his season on Saturday during the

Hugo Houle will begin his season on Saturday during the Tour des Alpes Maritimes

After a difficult winter in which injuries and illness affected his training, cyclist Hugo Houle begins his season on Saturday at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes, where he will meet teammates Guillaume Boivin and Michael Woods in France.

The 33-year-old Quebecer will pin his first bib number with an eye on his sixth Tour de France in July and possibly his third Olympic Games in Paris immediately after the Grande Boucle.

The Israel – Premier Tech team of Houle and his gang got off to an extremely strong start with Stevie Williams' opening victory at the Tour Down Under in Australia and Tom Van Asbroeck's victory in stage 4 of the Tour de Provence. The speedy Corbin Strong also has two podiums to his 2024 record.

A bit late

Even if the athlete from Sainte-Perpétue says he is not sure about his form, the team will try to continue its success at the beginning of the season during the three days of racing, which also includes the Classique du Var on Friday February 16th , heard.

“I was recently sick as a dog for ten days and had a hard winter in November with a broken wrist. I hit a rock with the back wheel and lost control while going downhill. I did everything by myself like an adult and came home on my bike. The next day I went to the hospital,” says the cyclist with a smile that he didn’t have during his mishap.

Wishing for the problems to end, Houle gets back in the saddle to support his teammates. His friend Jakob Fuglsang, who had a rather difficult 2023 season, will be with him on this occasion.

Hugo Houle will begin his season on Saturday during the Tour des Alpes Maritimes

Photo Jean-Francois Racine / Le Journal de Québec

Near the house

“I'm starting again with a nice, difficult race not far from home with routes that I know well,” explains Houle. The second stage starts on Sunday in Villefranche-sur-Mer, a few kilometers from Monaco, where he lives.

Winner of the 16th stage of the 2022 Tour de France, the veteran starts a 12th season at the highest level by assessing his condition. “I want to know where I stand and assess the lag time a little. I'm happy to be here. The training is fun, but I love racing. The team is also efficient. »

This weekend the Canadians Houle, Boivin and Woods will meet again with their director Steve Bauer.

Hugo Houle will begin his season on Saturday during the Tour des Alpes Maritimes

Photo provided by GPCMQ

“We know the route well and have put together a strong team that can perform well on the three days of racing,” said Bauer. Krists Neilands, Dylan Teuns and Ethan Vernon will complete the line-up.

At the top in July

Houle should then be at the start at the 82nd Paris-Nice 2024, from March 3rd to 10th.

“You have to be good at the start of the season to be selected for the games on June 1st. “It's a route that suits me well, but you have to have a ticket because there are only two places,” he analyzes and speaks of a peloton reduced to 90 men in the Olympic race on August 3rd. Normally Houle and Woods will be difficult to dismiss, but Boivin and Derek Gee will be the ones to keep an eye on.

Finally, the Quebecer mentions again that the next Tour de France may be his last, as he wants to return to the Tour of Italy in 2025 and 2026 to try to win a stage. The World Cup in Montreal will be the death knell for a great career.