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Tour Poitou-Charentes en Nouvelle Aquitaine. Hugo Houle climbs to fourth overall after busy day in Couhé

After stage 3 in the morning and the ITT in the afternoon, both finishing in the French city of Couhé and both won by race leader Arnaud Demare, Hugo Houle is now fourth overall and Sergei Chernetskii ninth. Houle finished fourth in the ITT, Chernetskii eleventh.

- It was a good day, I’m really happy with my ride because I gave my best. Of course, I would’ve liked to be a bit more in the front, to be on the overall podium, because the difference is only 8 seconds. But that’s how it is. I had a consistent ride in the ITT, I received good advice of our sports director, and at the end I came just too short for the podium. I’m proud of my ride, I’m progressing. Tomorrow will be hard to jump on the GC podium, but with this team, that’s working very good together, we will try our best. - Hugo Houle.

In the morning, stage 3 took off in Gecay and finished after 97.9 kilometer in the city of Couhé, the city that would also be the finish place for the ITT of 22.9 kilometer, starting from Champagné-Saint-Hilaire. In both races today, the French sprinter Arnaud Demare and his team were dominating the race, as he won the sprint in stage 3 and the ITT. He’s still leading the race with just one stage to go. In the morning, all the Astana Pro Team riders finished in the bunch sprint, after Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev and Ruslan Tleubayev were lucky to avoid a crash in the final. At the ITT, it was Hugo Houle with a strong performance, finishing fourth. Sergei Chernetskii finished eleventh. Both Houle and Chernetskii did a good job for the GC, as they’re now fourth and ninth overall. 

- Hugo Houle was motivated today, too bad he was just 8 seconds away from the GC podium. But I think he did everything he could, so he can’t regret anything. It’s just another step forward for him. Sergei Chernestkii also did a nice time trial, so we can be happy with that. Arnaud Demare is the best rider at the moment, his team will control it tomorrow and it will be hard to beat them, but we will prepare ourselves and try with the team to get Hugo Houle on the podium. – Lars Michaelsen.

The final stage tomorrow will go from Brioux-sur-Boutonne to Poitiers over 156.6 kilometer.


 

Photo credit: Bettiniphoto

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