Israel Premier Tech’s Hugo Houle took a solo victory for the ages Tuesday in stage 16 of the 2022 Tour de France. By escaping the group of leaders on the Mur de Péguère and soloing home to victory, Houle won his first World Tour race, his first major impression at the Tour de France, and the first Tour stage win for his team. He ended a drought for Canadian riders at the Tour that dates back to 1988, when Steve Bauer won a sprint in Machecoul.
But most importantly to Houle, it seems, was that he could finally give tribute to his deceased brother. Tearfully pointing skyward as he crosssed the line, Houle soaked in this great victory, telling his teammates and others on the line “this is for my brother,” referring to Pierrick who was killed while running by a drunk driver in 2012. No doubt this was an experience for him which goes beyond words.
It was another day of skirmishes, not just among the front group, which was eventually whittled down to Houle ahead of his teammate Michael Woods and Movistar’s Matteo Jorgensen, and assorted other groups coming over the Mur’s 18% tracks. Earlier, on the Port de Lers, defending Tour winner Tadej Pogacar attempted a few attacks to see if current maillot jaune Jonas Vingegaard was up to the task of defending his lead. Vingegaard was, and he had Sepp Kuss for help on the final climb, setting a furious pace that blunted any ambitions to attack that could be found in Pogacar or Nairo Quintana, who hung on to the two leaders, while INEOS’s Geraint Thomas fell back in his typical fashion, riding his pace just meters behind.
On the descent to Foix, Thomas rejoined, as did fifth-placed David Gaudu, descending fiendishly to reclaim his fifth overall spot, on a day where #4 Romain Bardet lost time. Jorgensen and Woods stalked Houle until Jorgensen slipped on a turn, briefly dropping off only to rejoin Woods, by which time any stage winning hopes were extinguished. Valentin Madouas of Groupama FDJ caught up to the pair with teammate Michael Storer, and Madouas won the sprint for second. The leaders’ group came home without further incident, showing once again that the final standings don’t often tell you much about how the action played out.
UAE may have lost another rider as a visibly ill Marc Soler fell far behind on the day and is risking missing the time cut as of this writing. On the plus side, Alexandr Vlasov was part of the breakaway group and was able to rejoin the top ten overall, moving up to 8th place.
- Hugo Houle Israel-Premier Tech, 04:23:47
- Valentin Madouas Groupama-FDJ, + 01:10
- Michael Woods Israel-Premier Tech, + 01:10
- Matteo Jorgenson Movistar Team, + 01:12
- Michael Storer Groupama, -FDJ+ 01:25
- Aleksandr Vlasov BORA-hansgrohe, + 01:40
- Dylan Teuns Bahrain Victorious, + 01:40
- Simon Geschke Cofidis, +02:11
- Mathieu Burgaudeau TotalEnergies, + 05:04
- Damiano Caruso Bahrain Victorious, + 05:04
- Mikkel Honore Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team, + 05:45
- Neilson Powless EF Education-EasyPost, + 05:45
- Wout van Aert Jumbo-Visma, + 05:54
- Brandon McNulty UAE Team Emirates, + 05:54
- Jonas Vingegaard Jumbo-Visma, + 05:54
- Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates+ 05:54
- Geraint Thomas, INEOS, s.t.
- Vingegaard, 64:28:09
- Pogacar, + 02:22
- Thomas, + 02:43
- Nairo Quintana Team Arkéa-Samsic, + 04:15
- David Gaudu Groupama-FDJ, + 04:24
- Adam Yates INEOS Grenadiers, + 05:28
- Louis Meintjes Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, + 05:46
- Aleksandr Vlasov BORA-hansgrohe+ 06:18
- Romain Bardet Team DSM+ 06:37
- Tom Pidcock INEOS Grenadiers+ 10:11
Carcassonne - Foix 178.5 km
Three stages in the Pyrenées starting with a teaser that is the most unpredictable one. It might be th last ominous looking of the three but with the brutally steep Mur de Péguère and a downhill finish in the finale it could be treacherous. Word of strong tailwinds in the first part of the stage could make for a hectic day right from the start too.
Expected finish: 16:55 - 17:30 CEST
Daredevil descender of the Day : Giulio Ciccone
People are going to start going for those polka dots and some that do might put themselves in a position to win a stage as well.