The cobbled classics campaign took on its penultimate event this afternoon at Ronde van Vlaanderen. Fresh off of some top results in recent weeks such, the team were full of confidence heading into the day, rallying around finisher Pfeiffer Georgi. It was a steady start to proceedings with a few probing attacks as riders went clear and then were brought back, with the head of the race together as they approached the Koppenberg. After some strong riding as a unit, the team were well positioned towards the front as the cobbles and gradients started to bite. Unfortunately, a few of the riders near the front had to put their feet down and as a result the whole bunch, bar two riders, had to dismount before getting back on their bikes.
Juliette Labous managed to navigate the chaos and made it into the first chasing group, while Georgi was unfortunately held up for longer and was in the next group on the road. With the pace on for the rest of the day, Georgi’s group wouldn’t see the front of the race again so Labous was able to play her cards in the front. Not known as a pure puncheur, Labous dragged and fought herself up the cobbled ascents, putting her climbing prowess to get use, and her TT abilities to the test as she clawed her way back to the chasing group over the Paterberg.
Heading into the finale Labous tried to attack but riding into the headwind made it difficult for any riders to get clear. Ahead Kopecky would go on to take the win while the Team DSM rider gave her all in the sprint finish, ending the race in a strong sixth place – her best cobbled classics result of her career and a good confidence booster ahead of the upcoming Ardennes.