Skip to content

Juliette Labous, the rising star of French cycling

Calm reigns until then at the Luxembourg theater in Meaux (Seine-et-Marne). The team parade began an hour ago on Saturday, on the eve of the start of this historic women’s Tour de France. One by one, the 144 starters are invited to a photo shoot before some media obligations. Then the Team DSM bus appears.

“She comes !”We gather here.” A nice crowd takes hold of the hall. “Elle” is Juliette Labous, the darling of the French media, who do not want to miss her. And for good reason: at 23, she represents the best tricolor chance in the general classification.

Smiling and relaxed, the Franc-Comtoise plays the game, serene. After her, only Dutch and Italian rockstars cause the same reaction. “I’m starting to get used to it, we feel the pressure mounting for a few months”, assures the young woman. Nothing seems to be able to disturb the one who aims big on this Tour. For the one who dreamed of being an astrophysicist, it is the logical continuation of a linear ascent to the stars.

Of Breton origin (you must therefore pronounce the S at the end of her name), the launch of Juliette Labous however started on the other side of the country, in the small Jura town of La Roche-lez-Beaupré. In the absence of a female role model, her brother, a BMX graduate, convinced her to get on a bike. “It was fun. With my friends, we went to the nearby BMX course. We had fun”, says the Frenchwoman. A notion of pleasure from which she has never separated.

After a passage through mountain biking and cyclo-cross, the teenager tackled the road at AC Bisontine then at VC Morteau-Montbenoit, before joining the hopeful pole of Besançon. A turning point for the one who did not plan to become a professional cyclist. “My brother wanted to be, because he watched the Tour and could identify with. Who could I identify with?”. A brilliant student (she skipped CE1), the young Juliette looked rather towards the sky. “It fascinated me when I was little. Then I lost that a bit with sport-study.”

Frenchwoman Juliette Labous, during the Worlds in Bruges (Belgium), September 20, 2021. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

His years of BMX, mountain biking and cyclo-cross give him a technical and physical background that makes the difference today on the road. “BMX taught me the spirit of competition from a very young age, and to not be afraid to rub shoulders with the peloton, and to sprint well. Then mountain biking gave me rigor, dexterity, the ability to information. And cyclo-cross makes me have good endurance, and I get over the bumps well.”lists Juliette Labous.

To this profile of a very complete runner, we must also add a touch of perfectionism. “It also comes to me from cyclo-cross, because it required more training. I started winning, so I saw that it paid off”she smiles.

This attention to detail resulted in a courageous team choice. At 18, when most of the country’s hopefuls choose a French formation, Juliette Labous opted for the German team of Team DSM (Sunweb at the time). “They approached me when I was 17, during the world championships in Richmond [en 2015, aux Etats-Unis]where I had been in the breakaway”, she recalls. After a few internships on the other side of the Rhine, the charm of Germanic rigor operates: “We shared the same philosophy.” The big leap 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, step by step, to take the time. I found it realistic, it convinced me.”

Six years later, the DSM’s plan has worked perfectly. This season, Juliette Labous has won her first two World Tour victories. There was the queen stage of the Giro, and especially the Tour de Burgos, her first stage race, during which she outstripped the leaders of the peloton.

“It gave me a lot of confidence because I thought I could compete with the best, like Demi Vollering.”

Juliette Labous, French DSM runner

at franceinfo: sport

Encouraged by a successful Giro, Juliette Labous arrives at the Tour de France with ambition, after two weeks of rest. I was with my boyfriend’s family [Clément Berthet, coureur professionnel d’AG2R Citroën]we drove a little”says the French.

She is the only Habs of a team that will bet on her for the general, and on the Dutch Lorena Wiebes for the sprints, like her victory on Sunday on the 1st stage. An excellent climber, Juliette Labous is already thinking about the last two stages of the Tour. The planets are aligned for the one who will play a tailor-made final on her land. “I work with pressure, I use it to surpass myself”, she assures. From there to dream of the final victory? Juliette Labous keeps her feet on the ground.

“Yellow is unrealistic for this year. But the podium, why not…”

Juliette Labous

at franceinfo: sport

The Labous rocket has just taken off to join the galaxy of Annemiek van Vleuten and Marianne Vos. But appetite comes with eating. When asked if she would rather join the international space station, or win the Tour, the answer explodes: “The Tour, of course!” In the meantime, Juliette Labous will learn about this first edition in the shadow of the Dutch and Italian leaders. To each their turn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.