On the afternoon of September 2012, the classic scenario is under way. The peloton just caught up with the breakaway and Langlois doesn’t feel the pedal strokes. “At mid-point through the race, I was talking to the younger riders on the team. They were telling me that they were at full speed and that at this pace, they would soon be dropped. Normally, I feel just about the same and I encourage them, I tell them that their legs will get used to the pace. I repeated my usual words of encouragement, but truth is, this time, I felt great. It was actually easy!”
With 25 km to go, the best riders in the world head up the Côte de la Montagne, at the heart of Old Quebec, pushing with everything they’ve got. The crowd literally supercharges Langlois. He’s one of the only Quebecers left in the race. He hears his name everywhere – ALLEZ BRUNO! He even sees his long-time friend and team owner, Louis Garneau, and waves at him. “I’ve got good legs today, Louis…”
Well positioned at the front, Langlois is waiting for the slightest waver in speed to attack. And it occurs at the bottom of the Côte des Glacis. Bruno takes off, pounding down on the pedals in high gear, pulling ahead of the peloton with Danish rider Chris Anker Sorensen. “We opened a gap right away. I pushed hard until the last kilometer of that lap, in front of the Château Frontenac. When Sorensen took his relay, I grit my teeth. I was on the limit. Further up the hill I though, as long as I’m here, might as well take the points for the mountain grand prix, so I passed him right before the line.”
After using the same strategy on the next mountain grand prix, Langlois is tied with the ranking leader for Best Climber. He’s racing at the head of his favorite race, less than 20 kilometers from the finish line. The breakaway is caught up with one lap to go. Bruno’s legs are still going. He finishes 30th, with the best in the world.
“I was super happy; I showed myself at the end of the race. In the previous years, I used to attack a lot at the beginning. This time, I was in the heat of the action until the very end. After I crossed the line, I was recovering from my efforts when someone from the organization came to tell me that I would be on the podium as Best Climber! Because the other rider who had the same amount of points as me finished the race further down the rankings, I won! That’s the importance of never giving up. It was a great moment, especially since my good friend François Parisien finished 10th and Best Canadian. I couldn’t believe it; two old dogs on a World Tour podium, after all those years spent riding together.”