2022 Tour de France

Hugo Houle Becomes Third Canadian To Win A Stage Of The Tour De France

Hugo Houle Becomes Third Canadian To Win A Stage Of The Tour De France

Hugo Houle became the third Canadian to win a Tour stage after a daring mountain escape, which began as a ploy to set up fellow Canadian Michael Woods.

Jul 19, 2022 by Michael Sheehan
For Ten Years Houle Has Raced For His Brother

Hugo Houle, riding for Israel - Premier Tech experienced a wave of emotions in the final kilometer of stage 16 of the 2022 Tour de France, as it became clear that nobody was going to catch the lone leader of the race.

Ten years ago, Houle's brother Pierrick was killed by a drunk driver. Since then, it has been Hugo's dream and driving purpose to win a stage of the Tour de France in honor of his brother. Houle, pointing to the sky as he crossed the finish line on Tuesday, became the third Canadian to win a stage of the Tour de France.

Ryder Hesjedal

Ryder Hesjedal, best known for his 2012 Giro d'Italia victory, was a part of Garmin - Cervelo's winning team trial squad on stage 2 of the 2011 Tour de France. Hesjedal was not only the last Canadian to win a stage of the Tour, but also the last Canadian to challenge the general classification. In 2010, Hesjedal finished fifth overall.

Steve Bauer

In 1988, Steve Bauer won the first stage of the Tour de France. He took the yellow jersey from Guido Bontempi, who placed first in the Tour's opening prologue. Bauer lost the yellow jersey after the stage two team time trial, but reclaimed it for a four-day stint after stage eight. Bauer finished fourth overall at the 1988 Tour.

Today, Bauer is a sports director for Team Israel - Premier Tech, a team that has five Canadians on their 2022 roster.

Alex Stieda

While Alex Stieda never won a stage of the Tour de France, he went on a dazzling solo attack on the first stage of the 1986 Tour de France, earning himself the yellow jersey, and the distinction of the first North American to ever wear it. 

In that year's Tour, there were enough bonus seconds awarded along the stage one course to allow a lone rider to accrue a race-leading advantage without actually having to finish the stage ahead of the peloton. Stieda finished the stage in fifth place, nine seconds behind Belgian winner Pol Verschuere, but with an eight-second advantage over second place in the general classification.

Hugo Houle

On the mountainous stage 16 of the Tour de France, Hugo Houle attacked his breakaway companions on the final, category-one climb. With nearly 40-kilometers remaining on the stage, Houle was trying to set up his breakaway companion, teammate and fellow Canadian Michael Woods, for stage victory. 

Woods, the better climber of the two, watched as what remained of the day's breakaway began to unravel under the pressure of Houle's attack. At the summit of the climb, American Matteo Jorgenson was the only chaser left, and Michael Woods was planted firmly on his wheel. 

Houle began the 27-kilometer downhill run to the finish with a 24-second advantage and the knowledge that he was now entering terrain that would favor his solo escape.

Jorgenson, desperate to close the gap on the descent, overcooked a corner and crashed hard, putting an end to his hopes of stage victory. 

Houle crossed the finish line in Foix one minute and ten seconds ahead of Valentin Madouas, with Michael Woods in third place, putting a bow on Canada's greatest day at the Tour de France in recent history.