Calm reigned until then at the Luxembourg theater in Meaux (Seine-et-Marne). The team parade started an hour later on Saturday, on the eve of the start of this historic women’s Tour de France. One by one, the 144 starters were invited to a photo shoot before some media obligations. Then the Team DSM bus appears.
“He’s coming!”,”We are gathered here.” A wonderful crowd filled the hall. “Elle” is Juliette Labous, the darling of the French media, who does not want to miss her. And for good reason: at 23, he represents the best tricolor moment in the general classification.
Smiling and relaxed, the Franc-Comtoise played the game, peacefully. After him, only Dutch and Italian rockstars caused the same reaction. “I’m starting to get used to it, we’ve been feeling the pressure for a few months”, assured the young woman. Nothing seems to disturb someone who is aiming big in this Tour. For someone who dreams of becoming an astrophysicist, this is the logical continuation of a linear ascent to the stars.
Of Breton origin (so you have to pronounce the S at the end of her name), the launch of Juliette Labous however began on the other side of the country, in the small Jura town of La Roche-lez-Beaupré. In the absence of a female model, his brother, a BMX graduate, convinced him to take up cycling. “Having fun. With my friends, we went to a nearby BMX course. We had fun”, said the Frenchwoman. An idea of happiness from which he has never parted.
After a trail of mountain biking and cyclo-cross, the teenager faces the road of AC Bisontine then VC Morteau-Montbenoit, before joining the hopeful pole of Besançon. A turning point for someone who doesn’t plan to become a professional cyclist. “My brother wants it, because he watches the Tour and knows. Who do I know?”. A bright student (she skipped CE1), young Juliette looked to the sky. “It fascinated me when I was little. Then I lost that a little bit studying the sport.”
His years in BMX, mountain biking and cyclo-cross gave him the technical and physical background that makes the difference today on the road. “BMX taught me the spirit of competition from a young age, and to not be afraid to rub shoulders with the peloton, and to sprint well. Then mountain biking gave me strength, skill, information ability. And cyclo-cross made me. I have good endurance, and I overcome bruises well.”listed Juliette Labous.
To this profile of a complete runner, we must also add a touch of perfectionism. “It also came to me from cyclo-cross, because it requires more training. I started to win, so I saw that it paid off”he smiled.
This attention to detail resulted in a bold team choice. At 18, when most of the country’s hopefuls chose a French formation, Juliette Labous chose the German team of Team DSM (Sunweb at that time). “They approached me when I was 17 years old, during the world championships in Richmond [en 2015, aux Etats-Unis]where was i on the breakaway”, he recalled. After a few internships on the other side of the Rhine, the beauty of Germanic rigor works: “We share the same philosophy.” The big jump abroad did not scare the young adult, at a time when women’s cycling was still in its infancy in France. “They offered me to grow, little by little, to take time. I saw it realistically, it convinced me.”
Six years later, the DSM plan is working perfectly. This season, Juliette Labous won her first two World Tour victories. There was the queen stage of the Giro, and especially the Tour de Burgos, his first stage race, where he overtook the leaders of the peloton.
“It gives me a lot of confidence because I think I can compete with the best, like Demi Vollering.”Juliette Labous, French DSM runner
in franceinfo: sport
Encouraged by a successful Giro, Juliette Labous arrives at the Tour de France with ambition, after a two-week break. I am in my boyfriend’s family [Clément Berthet, coureur professionnel d’AG2R Citroën]we drove a little”says the French.
He is the only Habs in a team that will bet on him for the general, and the Dutch Lorena Wiebes for the sprints, as she won on Sunday in the 1st stage. An excellent climber, Juliette Labous is already thinking about the last two stages of the Tour. The planets are aligned for one to play a tailor-made final in his land. “I work with pressure, I use it to surpass myself”, he assured. From there dream of the ultimate victory? Juliette Labous keeps her feet on the ground.
“Yellow is not realistic for this year. But the podium, why not…”Juliette Labous
in franceinfo: sport
The Labous rocket has just taken off to join the galaxy of Annemiek van Vleuten and Marianne Vos. But appetite comes with food. When asked if he wanted to join the international space station, or win the Tour, the answer exploded: “The Tour, of course!” In the meantime, Juliette Labous will know about the first edition in the shadow of the Dutch and Italian leaders. To each in their turn.