Hugo Houle takes the win... © Pasquale Stalteri
June 05, 2012 (Lachine, QC) – Hugo Houle (SpiderTech p/by C10) outpaced a posse of Equipe Ekoi-Gaspesien riders and the chasing pack under a heavy and relentless downpour, which started shortly after the beginning of the race, to claim the first victory of the season in the Senior Men’s 50km at Stage 1 of the 35th annual Mardis Cyclistes p/b Jean Coutu series this evening in Lachine.
The weather conditions caused the peloton to break up as the speed of the race further strung out the field. With several elite riders from SpiderTech, Garneau and Ekoi in the pack, this was expected to be a fast race and it didn’t disappoint.
Ekoi-Gaspesien's Dechaise (l) and Brochu © Pasquale Stalteri
Houle, 21, found himself in the lead breakaway group around mid-race but soon decided to go for it alone. Within several laps he gained 24 seconds on the main break and would not be caught as he soloed across the line for the win – in fact he lapped the field. Jean-Samuel Deshaies (Equipe Ekoi-Gaspesien) finished second with teammate Jordan Brochu in third. Reigning Mardis Cyclistes champion, Jean-François Laroche (Fantino-Cycle Régis), finished in the main field.
Laroche © Pasquale Stalteri
Houle’s solo breakaway lasted for 14 of 31 laps around LaSalle Park, as he increased his lead with each lap. “The rain and my tires helped me a lot this evening. With each turn in the circuit, I pulled away further from the pack,” said the two-time U23 Canadian road champion.
“I decided to give it all I had and take off solo; it was the right decision because I was the strongest. I kept pedaling at a steady pace, but was nonetheless surprised when I lapped the pack and caught the others,” Houle added.
Pierrick Naud © Pasquale Stalteri
According to Mardis founder, Joseph “Tino” Rossi, Houle’s feat of lapping the pack happened only once before in the 35 years he has organized the Mardis races.
Stage two of the 10-stage Mardis series takes place on Tuesday, June 12 and will probably yield some surprises as many of the regular competitors will be away at the Tour de Beauce which runs from June 12—17 .
1. Hugo Houle (SpiderTech p/by C10) 1:03:49 (avg. 47.0 km/h)
2. Jean-Samuel Deshaies (Equipe Ekoi-Gaspesien)
3. Jordan Brochu (Equipe Ekoi-Gaspesien)
4. Pierrick Naud (Equipe Ekoi-Gaspesien)
5. Dominic Chalifoux (Trek)
6. Simon Lambert-Lemay (SpiderTech p/by C10)
7. François Parisien (SpiderTech p/by C10)
With files from Mardis Cyclistes