Riding brilliantly as a group and all-in for the team goal throughout the week, Team DSM-Firmenich took an excellent second place on GC of the 34th edition of the Giro d’Italia Donne. Juliette Labous graced the podium as the Italian stage race concluded on Sunday.
Navigating challenging terrain over nine tough stages, Team DSM-Firmenich set out with the goal of hunting for stage results and the best possible GC result with Labous as their top finisher. The riders worked well as a group to ensure Labous was always well supported and brought into position for the key moments. The team rode excellently in the latter half of the stage race to make each day as hard as possible. Their goal was to make the peloton more fatigued, thus playing into Labous’ ability of being able to recover and dig really deep. Coming into the final day, the team once again performed at their best to ensure no dangerous riders could gain time. It meant Labous was able to proudly stand on the podium, representing all the hard work from Team DSM-Firmenich overall, from both riders and staff.
This was a memorable moment for Team DSM-Firmenich’s Women’s program, as it also marks best ever GC result in one of cycling’s Grand Tours for the program. It was an almost perfect way to wrap up the team’s first race in its new colours.
Speaking after the stage, an elated Labous said, “Very happy to take this second place on GC. It’s really awesome. If you had said it to me before the start I would have been a bit surprised, as I had some doubts about my shape before, but nobody in the team doubted me. I really felt the trust they had in me. This week was really awesome, the work we all did. It’s my second place but it’s the whole team’s also because it was just teamwork; from the staff and the girls. We always had the race in our hands. This was just an awesome feeling from the start of the race to the end actually. Today was also a good day as well with Megan sprinting to fifth and I think we did a good lead-out, so we can be proud of that. I just want to thank everybody from staff, riders and also everyone at the HQ – everyone who is behind this. I think we can all be proud of this podium at the Giro; thanks to everyone!”
Team DSM-Firmenich coach Kelvin Dekker continued, “We came into the Giro with one goal of going for GC with Juliette and the second one of going for the sprints with Megan, although there weren’t many sprint chances on offer. I think GC-wise, we did everything close to perfect. The team was always there, we made the race hard when we could. It’s nice to see that we weren’t afraid to take the initiative. The whole team was behind Juliette and I think that gave her wings to do even better. I think stages six and seven were where we put all of our energy. Stage seven is perhaps the highlight of the Giro for us. There, we did everything we could to bring Juliette into the best possible position to go for second in GC. To succeed then and finish second on the stage as well, it really confirmed that we had the second strongest GC rider in the bunch. Also, to do that with a team performance all week, it’s really special. We only had two chances to go for the sprints with Megan but we got two top five finishes. Maybe we hoped for a bit more, but we’re happy to have been able to go for it twice in a really hard Giro. She suffered through all the days for this last chance and she was there and delivered. Megan also had the support of the time and she was also really supportive too. I think second on GC at the Giro is an incredible result and something to be amazingly proud of for everyone who is here, but also everyone who is at home. It’s also because it was a real team performance. We’ve had an incredible two weeks and we can take some time to enjoy this.”