CyclingPub Interview - Juliette Labous: I will give everything to be selected for the Olympic Games
Jan 16 2020 10:06 pm CET

CyclingPub Interview - Juliette Labous: I will give everything to be selected for the Olympic Games
CyclingPub Interview - Juliette Labous: I will give everything to be selected for the Olympic Games
Photo of Juliette Labous © Team Sunweb | Vincent Riemersma

Team Sunweb's Juliette Labous was at the first winter training camp of the season in Spain and there CyclingPub had the chance to have a talk with her.

Labous opened the 2020 season in the same way as 2019, by taking the lead in a young riders classification and this time in the Santos Women's Tour Down Under.

Despite being only 21, this will be the fourth season of Labous in the Dutch team. The last years have been a discovery journey for the rider and little by little she has been turning into a strong cyclist that has the potential of fighting for the General Classifications in stage races in a not so far future.

Last season was a breakthrough year for the Frenchwoman as she finished in the top 15 of races like the Giro Rosa and the Tour of Norway, as well as climbing on the last step of the final podium of the Tour de Bretagne Feminin -where she also topped the young riders classification just like in the Italian grand tour.

For the first time, Sunweb is having both teams at the same time doing a training camp in Spain, so at the hotel in which I interview Labous, I encounter both formations. And among cyclists from other teams, I finally encounter the smiling young rider ready for our talk.

Juliette Labous (Sunweb)

In 2019, you topped the youth classifications in the Giro Rosa, the Tour de Bretagne and the Tour of California. How was last season for you?

I am really happy about the season, especially with the Giro because that was the first time that I was really competing in a big race with the best, so to finish almost in the top ten and being fifth in the time trial made me really happy. It means that I can have some goals there in the future.

Do you see yourself developing into a GC rider?

I think so. At first, I didn't really know if I was more like a puncheur or a GC kind of rider but I think I'm developing more into a GC rider with tough climbs as my specialty.

So do you think longer races suit you better than one-day ones?

Yes, I think I need some more days to be better than the others.

Do you know your calendar for 2020?

I'm going to do Australia, that's going to be my first race and I have never been to Australia, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Then do you return to Europe?

Yes, I will go back home, and then we will do another training camp here in Calpe.

What are your thoughts about the Olympic Games?

I think it's a special year with the Olympic Games and we only have one spot for France, so it will be quite hard to make it but I think I have a chance. It will be kind of a fight but I will give everything to be the one selected.

Do you think the parcours suit you?

Yes, it seems like the Individual Time Trial especially is very hard, so I was happy when I saw it. The road race is a bit less hard than the guys' because we don't have Mount Fuji, it's just a long climb and not so steep, so if the race is hard I can be good in it. I don't think I can go for a medal in the TT because I'm still young but it will be a nice experience for the future.

And what about the World Championships?

They are also very hard in Switzerland, so I also want to prepare for them in a good way. My brother will also live there like at 10 kilometres from the start so I hope I can go and do some recon.

You rode the time trial at the World Championships of Yorkshire, how was this experience for you?

I was in really good shape but I had a lot of crashes in August, and I was not confident on my bike so it was hard with the rain. Normally I like it, but I was really scared, so I lost a lot of time on downhills and the technical parts. I was a bit frustrated because I was in the top fifteen and I also got a spot for the Olympic Games for France but I know I could have done better, so I was a bit disappointed.

But did this experience teach you some lessons that you can apply in the future?

Yes, indeed. I learned that my form was good, so I should keep the same preparations but I should do more training on the TT bike. So I have it at home to ride it more and feel more confident on it.

Which race has been your nicest so far?

I think the Giro Rosa. I really like it, of course because the parcours suits me but also in general it's a nice race and I really like it.

You are also in the Army, how do you mix the two professions?

I was in the Army until the end of 2019 but this year I can't keep doing it because it is a bit complicated with the UCI reform and the Federation. So I'm not going to be in the Army anymore but that was really great for me because I could get some more support from them, and I was really proud to be in the French Army. It was really good and really easy to combine both because they were open to work with my team calendar. I had to choose between the Army and cycling and I chose cycling because this is what I want to be.

In this training camp sometimes you go out and ride with the men, how is this for you?

It is really nice. It is nice that they are here at the same camp that we are now. It is nice to discuss things together with them because sometimes you don't see things the same, of course, and we are curious about each other's work. So it's really great.

Juliette Labous (Sunweb)

Do you usually go to the same winter camps together?

Not always. The last years we were sometimes having three days at the same time, because one team came earlier and the other later. But this is the first time that we are together and I like it.

Now that the team is part of the UCI Women's WorldTour, do you think it makes any difference for riders like you?

I think this reform is great because now the conditions are better for every rider. I think financially now nobody gets problems and it shows that there is more structure in the teams. With this team we were already at a high level, and we didn't really have any problems but I think it's nice for women's cycling. And it is nice for me to say now 'I'm in a WorldTour team'.

But in the way you are treated in this team, it doesn't really make a difference, right?

Yes, we already had everything. For example the material, also the staff: we had trainers, we had a sports directors, doctors, dietitians, we already had everything.

By: Mary Cárdenas




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