March 27, 2015 – Canada’s Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale) is excited to be slated to ride at the 2015 Giro d’Italia reports Montreal’s La Presse, and only an injury or other event could change things for the Quebec rider.
“This will be a great opportunity to discover how my body reacts to a 3-week race,” Houle wrote to Pedal. “Also, I will have the chance to test my climbing ability; I didn’t have the chance to do that much so far in my carrier. I’m really motivated to make my first Grand Tour a successful experience.”
Carlos Betancur and Domenico Pozzovivo will be the AG2R team leaders for the 23-day stage race beginning May 9. Betancur is a 24-year-old Colombian who won the young rider’s jersey at the 2014 Giro. Pozzovivo, a 32-year-old Italian, won stage eight of the 2012 Giro.
The Giro, which is 3,482km in 2015, is often considered the second most prestigious bicycle race in the world after the Tour de France. It starts in San Lorenzo al Mare, on 9 May and concludes in Milan on June 1.
The La Presse article, in French, jokingly refers to Houle as “a Canadian lumberjack” because of a big beard the cyclist recently sported. On his Facebook page, Houle seems to be running an informal poll on whether or not to keep the facial hair, which he has since trimmed to more manageable proportions.
A more recent Facebook posting shows him on the team bus with the caption: “On my way to the first WorldTour Classic of the season, the Grand Prix E3, hoping that the force will be with us!”
Houle, now 24, won the Canadian junior RR title in 2008. He also won the 2011 and 2012 Canadian U23 RR titles and finished 2nd at the 2014 Canadian ITT championships behind Svein Tuft (Orica Greenedge). Formerly a rider with the now defunct SpiderTech team, Houle began riding for AG2R in 2013.