Hugo Houle is going a little later this season, his first with Astana, as he heads to south central China for the last event on the WorldTour calendar, the Tour of Guangxi. In the last three seasons with AG2R, Houle’s last race was the world championships.

Astana will have raced Houle 59-days up until Tuesday’s start in Beihei, after 82 and 84-days the last two years with AG2R.

Astana released its official Guangxi line up today. Besides Houle, LL Sanchez is a stage win threat, as is Andrey Grivko.

Houle had a heavy start to the calendar, with eight straight Spring Classics and Monuments crammed into 30-days, with a WorldTour stage race on either side of the period. He raced three of the five Monuments for the sixth time in his career. In stage races Houle completed Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné, with his high mark 54th in Romandie.

Houle races uphill time trial in April’s Tour de Romandie. Photo: Sirotti

Houle’s streak of racing a Grand Tour for three consecutive years came to an end in 2018. New rules made for smaller Grand Tour squads.

One more year remains on Houle’s Astana contract. For 2019 Astana is bringing in the Izagirre brothers after the duo enjoyed one year reunited at Bahrain-Merida. The brothers have also served on Movistar and Euskatel-Euskadi together.

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