Juliette Labous 10th on mountain top finish in Norway


After two days for the sprinters and opportunists, today the climbers had their chance to go for stage success with a 145 kilometre long stage from Drammen to Norefjell, with an 11 kilometre ascent to end the day. It was an attacking start to the stage with multiple moves going clear and being brought back, included a promising quartet which featured Liane Lippert. Eventually the elastic snapped with a two rider breakaway getting an advantage, with all Team DSM riders in the peloton, protecting Juliette Labous for the finale.

Attention in the bunch remained on the final climb, and despite a few attackers, everything was ultimately brought together as the gradient reared upwards. Riding well as a unit, the team came to the fore as the kilometres on the climb ticked by, with Lippert doing a great ride to set tempo at the front of the bunch as it whittled down. Approaching three kilometres to go fierce attacks were made at the front and the group completely exploded. Labous rode at her tempo on the tough gradients, fighting all the way to the line for a solid tenth place finish.

“Until the climb Liane, Floortje, Wilma and Susanne took care of any dangerous moves and followed lots of attacks while I was driven by Coryn in the bunch and I was safe the whole time,” explained Labous. “Then Susanne and Coryn did a super great leadout for the climb and Liane set a great pace at the bottom so that it would be not too explosive at the start for me and it was perfect. I did my best on the climb and looking at my power I couldn’t do better, maybe the race wasn’t hard enough before the climb like sometimes it is in Giro, so tenth was the best I could get today. I am very thankful for the work the girls did today and looking forward to the final stage tomorrow.”

Team DSM coach Huub Duijn said: “Today was GC day, with a finish on top of a ten kilometre climb. We had the goal of protecting Juliette and saving her energy up until the start of that climb. In the beginning we tried a lot to get in to the break with the other riders, to have others to chase us, and make a bit more of harder race. Liane, Floortje and Susanne were in the mix a couple of times with groups getting away but the other teams wouldn’t let us go. Near the start of the climb it was all back together, and the team did a great job of putting Juliette in the front for the climb. Then it was an honest race up, with Liane setting up a good pace in the first kilometres of the climb. In the last three kilometres the front group of about 20 riders, completely exploded, and Juliette came home in tenth place for us, giving it everything to the line. All in all, it was a good performance by the team and in the end an honest result.”