Despite the relegation of his Israel - Premier Tech team to the second division of the WorldTour, Hugo Houle will have the opportunity to experience a fifth participation in the Tour de France since his team has been invited to the prestigious event as second ace.
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“End of suspense, Israel – Premier Tech / Israel Cycling Academy is invited to the Tour de France 2023. I am motivated to secure my place in the team for a fifth participation in the big loop”, wrote the cyclist from Sainte-Perpétue on his Facebook page.
Twenty-two teams are invited to the Tour de France, including the 18 from the WorldTour. At the end of last year, Israel – first Tech had learned with regret that she was moving to ProTeams, the second division of the WorldTour.
In addition to the 18 WorldTour teams, the Tour organizers are also inviting the two highest-ranked ProTeams, the French from Total-Énergies and the Belgians from Lotto.
It is therefore with the last two tickets as second aces, distributed at the discretion of the organizers, that Israel – Premier Tech and the Norwegian troupe Uno-X will be on the starting line for the competition, which will take place from 1 to 23 july.
Last summer, Houle made history by becoming the first Quebecer to win a stage. On July 19, he caused quite a stir by winning the 16th stage, from Carcassonne to Foix, over 178.5 km.
He had dedicated his victory with great emotion to his brother Pierrick, who lost his life in 2012, hit by a driver during a running outing. It was his first professional win.
"I had a dream. Winning a stage for my brother who died when I turned pro. This victory is for him. I waited 10-12 years for this and today I got my victory for him. It's incredible," he told the international broadcaster on arrival.
The 31-year-old cyclist also finished the 13th stage with an astonishing third place.
Israel – Premier Tech is led by four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.