SpiderTech rider now second overall in Tour de Beauce
(St-Benoît-Labre, QC) Hugo Houle wanted to show that he could rival the best riders on the continent, and he got his wish Friday with a third place in the time trial stage of the Tour de Beauce.
The 21-year-old Team SpiderTech powered by C10 has already proved that he is the best Canadian in the U23 category by winning the national championships in that age class for two years running. But his result Friday came against much older, more experienced riders after three tough days of racing.
The stage winner was former seven-time Canadian Champion and former worlds medalist Svein Tuft, 35, who races on the WorldTour with Orica-GreenEDGE.
Tuft posted a time of 27 minutes, 8 seconds, 30 seconds faster than 30-year-old Australian Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthCare), and 46 seconds faster than Houle.
“I’m very happy,” said Houle after the race. “The team had confidence in me, and the pressure was on me to perform today.”
After Houle’s fourth-place finish at the summit of Mont-Mégantic on Thursday, he now sits just 19 seconds behind Sutherland in the overall standings, with another Orica-GreenEDGE rider, Christian Meier, in third place at 43 seconds.
Team SpiderTech had a strong showing in the time trial, with Ryan Roth finishing fifth and Zach Bell ninth.
The focus now turns to the final two stages of the tour, a tough circuit race in Quebec City on Saturday and another one in Ville St-Georges on Sunday.
Sutherland has a very strong team to lean on as he defends his overall lead, but they have a hard job ahead of them as several teams are poised to go on the attack, and it will be up to Houle to look for opportunities to play off some other riders, such as Tuft and Meier, to gain some time.
Houle continues to lead the best young rider classification, and SpiderTech is second in the team standings as well, just 53 seconds behind UnitedHealthCare.
“This has been such a team effort all week, and here we are in second place on the team classification with a very good chance as UnitedHealthcare burns off their riders defending the lead,” said Carter. “It’s a second priority, but it’s a target for sure.”
Saint-Benoit-Labre (Quebec) – The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Rory Sutherland (AUS) took hold of the overall lead in the 2012 Tour de Beauce following his second place finish in the Stage 4 Individual Time Trial (ITT) earlier today, Friday, June 15. Teammates Marc de Maar (CUR) and Ben Day (AUS) also finished in the top 10, taking 7th and 8th place respectively and putting three UnitedHealthcare Team riders in the top 10 for the stage.
Sutherland, who won the overall at last month’s 26th SRAM Tour of the Gila in New Mexico, was able to grab the yellow jersey today and move into first overall after his second place time trial run through a hard out and back, undulating course. Svein Tuft (Team Canada) was the winner on the day in 27 minutes and eight seconds, 30 seconds in front of Sutherland’s time. Hugo Houle (Team SpiderTech p/b C10) secured third place, coming in 16 seconds behind Sutherland.
The Team heads into Stage 5 tomorrow, Saturday, June 16, with both Sutherland and de Maar standing in first and sixth in the General Classification.