Israel – Premier Tech took the team’s third podium spot in this year’s Tour de France as Hugo Houle finished third on stage 13.
“I’m really happy with the way I raced today. This is a good step forward and it gives me even more motivation for the next stages”, Houle said after the finish.
With its undulating profile and hot weather conditions, today’s stage had the potential to be another one for a strong break to make it all the way. Countless attacks occurred in the opening kilometers and ultimately, a group of seven riders managed to distance the peloton. Motivated not to let this opportunity slip away, Houle was quick to join the group.
The teams of the sprinters didn’t want to give up easily and the breakaway never got a gap of more than a few minutes. However, with the firepower up front, even a small gap turned out to be enough.
On the final climb of the day, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) attacked with only Houle and Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) able to follow the pace. The trio worked well together and soon, it was clear that the winner would be one of the three riders up front. Houle led the way on to the final kilometer but it was Pedersen who ended up taking the win. Israel – Premier Tech’s 31-year-old Canadian crossed the line in third place, his first ever podium place in a Grand Tour.
“The guys are solid sprinters and I’m a bit limited with my weight here but I am really happy that I could stay with Mads Pedersen in the final and get the third place. With the breakaway that we had, I think I can be proud of this result. That’s my best race ever in the Tour and I’m moving one step forward in the good direction to get that win but I showed today that I am in shape and was there when I needed to be.”