Rider Diary

Rider diaries with Juliette Labous

Newsletter

While on a more relaxed moment at the Tour de France Femmes after stage five, we caught up with Juliette to talk through her progression this year as a rider; those high moments at Vuelta a Burgos and the Giro; and how her race at the Tour has played out.

Hi everyone,

With the final stages of the Tour de France Femmes approaching, I want to take the chance and take you with me through my season 2022 so far. The whole year my focus was already on my GC development with the team, but I also could feel that my punch was better, without specifically working on it; just through the other training I was doing. My overall level was higher already in the first part of the season and I could feel that for example at Brabantse Pijl, where I was really able to follow the best. In the first weeks of the classics, I was not in my top shape yet, but I was feeling better and better from race to race. Before Fléche Wallonne I, unfortunately, got sick a bit, so it was not the most ideal spring for me. I could start again four days later at Liège-Bastogne-Liège four but I was still disappointed because I could feel the shape coming before and the sickness ruined my preparation and shape a bit. Yet I was still really happy about the steps that I made in my development.

Before Burgos, I had some really good training plans from the team again, so I was ready and motivated going into that race. The first two days were not so special, but the third day was a hard one with a steep climb and I was feeling as strong as the others. Mentally that really was good because I didn’t have that feeling since my junior years. The next morning, we talked in our meeting about how we can win the GC and it was nice that the plans we made worked well and I could finish it off and I was able to show, the steps that I’ve made during the winter. This for sure was my biggest win up to that moment since turning pro, so that meant a lot to me.

From there on my focus was really focused on Giro and Tour and I did an altitude camp and some good training. Coming to the nationals I was motivated to win the title in the TT again, but it didn’t work out in the end. I was feeling quite good that day so I was not completely happy with second place, but the bigger goals were still ahead.

Coming to the Giro, the first three days were pretty easy, which maybe was also not so good for me. I prefer it when the race is hard, and everyone is getting a bit tired. On stage four, the day after the rest day, the temperature was really high and we raced in more than 38 degrees. On that day I was really struggling with the heat, couldn’t follow the best, and pretty much lost the GC there. I was not doubting too much about my shape too much as I was confident in the work we had done I and was motivated to then go for stage results. I knew already that stage seven was maybe the only chance for me to go into the break and win the stage. Plans like this do not always work out, but this one worked out perfectly. It was not super easy, because we only had two minutes at the bottom of the last climb, but I could stay clear and win that stage. It was a super nice win, and I had a lot of emotions crossing the finish line. It was a long time since I crossed the finish line first so that made the day really special to me. I also received a lot of nice messages afterwards which then made me think of how it was such a great achievement. After that, I felt better and could finish the Giro in the top ten of the GC, which was a nice surprise after losing so much time on day four.

After the Giro I started training again and did four days of altitude simulation to give my body a reminder of the high altitude and have the effect a bit longer. After that, I spent some nice time with my boyfriend in the Jura, riding together to get the final shape for the Tour de France Femmes, but also being able to switch off too which was great.

Now we are at the Tour de France and the first day was already special. We have been looking forward to that day for quite a long time in the team and everything went well. The win from Lorena was just amazing, and the atmosphere was crazy, with so many people at the Champs-Élysées and the start at the Eiffel Tower, that was just so special for me.

For me, it’s going well so far. I lost some time on the three girls on stage two, but I think it is not too bad and I hope I can take the time back on the weekend. So far, I was always out of trouble and never had a puncture or crash, so I have been lucky until now. We have managed to avoid a lot of the trouble by riding together at the front. It was also super nice to take another win with Lorena on Thursday, which was a special moment again for the entire team.

Now we try to gain some time back in the GC on the weekend and hopefully can finish in the top five or even higher – that would be the goal!

I was not expecting so many people to be on the parcours also after the start in Paris and this is just crazy. I want to thank everyone for their support the whole week, you made it really special for me to race on home soil.

Enjoy the rest of the summer,

Juliette.

Editor’s note: The final weekend of action saw Juliette fight to brilliant fourth and fifth places on the mountain stages after some great support from the team; a result which saw Juliette secure a fantastic fourth on GC in the first Tour de France Femmes. We’re sure your support along the way helped!