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SAINT-DIÉ-DES-VOSGES, France (VN) — Juliette Labous is the home nation’s best chance of scoring a top general classification at the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift and the 23-year-old has big hopes for the high mountains this weekend.
The Team DSM rider has kept herself out of trouble in the opening days of the race while her teammate Lorena Wiebes has racked up the stage victories. Labous currently sits in seventh overall at 1:09 behind the yellow jersey with the crucial final weekend on the horizon.
Labous would like to repeat her stage win at the Giro d’Italia Donne earlier this month but her main focus is to pull out a strong GC performance.
“I lost some time, but not so much so I think that everything is still possible,” Labuos told VeloNews. “I will follow the best, I will try my best. I think that winning a stage will be hard, but I will try my best for the GC.”
The inaugural Tour de France Femmes has been a resounding success already with big crowds turning up to watch the riders at the starts, finishes, and along the roadside. Nobody really knew what to expect in terms of the spectator turnout, but the Tour de France draw has been evident across the opening stages.
“It feels special and I’m really proud. So many people are here to watch here and for sure I know some people so it is quite nice. I have some family so that’s really nice,” she said.
“It’s actually matching the expectation, even a bit higher. I was not sure in between Paris and the weekend how many people would be here, but there have been a lot of people here, which has been really nice.”
As France’s main hope for GC success, Labous has had to cope with a huge uptick in attention from fans and the media. It is something that she is becoming used to, and even enjoys, as time goes on.
“More than other races actually,” she said of the attention that she has been getting in the buildup to the race. “I like it. It’s not that crazy actually. You just have to be organized and say yes and no sometimes, I like it.”
Labous has been racing with Team DSM since 2017, after turning pro at the age of 18. She has stepped up a level this season, knocking on the door of a top 10 result at the Ardennes Classics before securing fifth overall at the Itzulia Women.
At the end of May, she took her first GC victory with the overall title at the Vuelta a Burgos. She went on to take a stage win at the Giro d’Italia Donne and finished ninth overall.
“I’m happy with this year, I think it is just a continuity of my progression. I’m happy with my performances so far,” Labous said. “[The Giro] was special. Burgos was already really good, but the Giro was something that I got to put my hands in the air, so it was a really nice feeling.”