Time is running out for defending champion Tadej Pogacar as Jonas Vingegaard maintained his advantage over the UAE Team Emirates rider with just five stages to go in the Tour de France.
The Slovenian made a valiant attempt to shake off Vingegaard but the Belgian, led by his Jumbo-Visma teammate Wout van Aert, retained his lead of two minutes and 22 seconds after Stage 16 on Tuesday.
The defending champion attacked twice on the ascent to the Port de Lers and once in the descent but yellow jersey holder Vingegaard held firm.
Hugo Houle was the stage winner, becoming only the second Canadian to register a stage victory in the Tour de France since Steve Bauer in 1988.
A late sprint secured second place for France's Valentin Madouas, with Houle's Israel-Premier Tech teammate and countryman Michael Woods third.
An emotional Houle pointed to the air as he crossed the line and dedicated the victory to his brother Pierrik, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2012.
“This one is for my brother,” he said. “I never won a race so I guess it's the right place to win my first race.
“I was suffering but I made it and it means a lot to me. I had one dream, win a stage for my brother who died.
“When I turned professional I worked for 10, 12 years and today I got my win for him. It is incredible. I don't know what to say. I am just so happy.”
Houle, who broke clear with 40km to go, added: “When I attacked, it was to set the table for Michael Woods but they let me go and Mike made a gap.
“I just went full gas. I hung on. I was suffering so much on the steep part of the climb.
“I knew that if I got to the top with 30 or 40 seconds, that I could do it and so I went full gas. It was tight and a long time at 30 seconds but I never gave up. When they showed me I was at one minute, it was unreal and I knew I was going to do it.”
Stage 16 results
1. Hugo Houle (Can) Israel-Premier Tech 4hr 23 min 47 sec
2. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ +1min 10 sec
3. Michael Woods (Can) Israel-Premier Tech +1:10
4. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar +1:12
5. Michael Storer (Aus) Groupama-FDJ +1:25
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma 64 hrs 28 mins 09 secs
2. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates +2mins 22 secs
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos Grenadiers +2mins 43 secs
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic +4mins 15 secs
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ +4mins 24 secs