Huole to Ag2r La Mondiale, Gu to Orica AIS
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Huole to Ag2r La Mondiale, Gu to Orica AIS

by VeloNation Press at 9:54 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Canadian and Korean move to bigger teams

Hugo HouleNew team announcements continue to be made as the off season progresses, with a change of squads for riders in both the men’s and women’s pelotons being announced today.

In finishing fourth in the world under 23 championships this year, Canadian rider Hugo Houle had shown his potential for a very big future. The 22 year old had been due to continue with the SpiderTech C10 team in 2013 but with Steve Bauer’s squad experiencing financial issues, he was one of many riders left short.

His otherwise-future team-mate Timmy Duggan was confirmed yesterday as joining the Saxo Bank Tinkoff Bank team, and now Houle has been announced as moving to the Ag2r La Mondiale squad.

Houle is a three-time under 23 national time trial champion and also won the road race title in 2011. Last year he showed his class with that world championship result but also a stage victory plus the overall classification in the Tour de Québec and second overall in the Tour de Beauce, He was also fifth on a stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and seventh on a stage of the Amgen Tour of California.

The Ag2r La Mondiale team is trying to secure a place in the WorldTour, and should offer Houle a good platform of races to further build his career.

Meanwhile Korean road race champion Sungeun Gu has joined the Orica AIS team and in doing so, has become the first female professional from her country.

A gold medal winner in the points race at the Asian track cycling championships plus a scratch race silver medallist in a past World Cup, the 28 year old has increasingly focussed on road racing in recent years and spent time as a trainee at the UCI’s World Cycling Centre.

Sungeun GuShe competed in the Beijing Olympics on the back of silver and bronze medals in the time trial and road race at the UCI B World Championships in 2007. This year she was second in the Asian road championships and placed in the top ten on the first two stages of the Tour of Thailand.

Orica AIS sports director Dave McPartland believes that she can make substantial progress with the team. “She will be part of a very experienced and successful team and we think she will thrive in this environment,” he said. “We’re only entering our second season, but our structure is clearly working well and that will be a big part of her possibility to grow as a rider.”

General manager Shayne Bannan sees her signing as being important for another reason; helping the sport globalise.

“We see our team as an active part of that development,” he said, referring to cycling’s internationalisation. “Having Gu on that team is another big leap in that direction for us.

“She will take an important step in her career coming to a European based road team with a full, international race schedule. We believe she has the talent and the personality to make it.”

Another recent signing to the Orica AIS team is the Swedish rider Emma Johansson. She said one of her roles will be to help less experienced riders develop; in that regard, she could end up helping Gu in her progress.


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