The queen stage of the Tour de France Femmes saw a short but explosive stage to the Col du Tourmalet shake up the GC with Juliette Labous climbing to fifth place on the day and moving up to sixth on GC.
Setting out from Lannemezan late Saturday afternoon, Team dsm-firmenich set out with the goal of bringing Labous into the best place possible for the two major climbs of Col d’Aspin and Col du Tourmalet. Covering any dangerous breakaways, the sprint group of Charlotte Kool, Megan Jastrab and then Pfeiffer Georgi took control at the front of the peloton and kept Labous safe as they swung onto the Col d’Aspin. Léa Curinier and Esmée Peperkap then took over in support and stuck with Labous for as long as they could, while other teams upped the pace. With five kilometres left to go on the climb and elite three rider group went clear, with Labous riding at her own tempo in the chasing yellow jersey group.
A change in race dynamics over the top and on the descent saw Niewiadoma solo out front, while Van Vleuten and Vollering returned to Labous’ group – where a strong pace was set. As they hit the beginning of the steep section of the Col du Tourmalet with 12 kilometres remaining on the stage, Niewiadoma was in touching distance but the gap immediately ballooned out. Labous then helped to set tempo but after getting little help from others, she attacked multiple times trying to break clear. Unfortunately, she was always shut down before Vollering would put in a stinging move at five kilometres to go. Labous had to let go of the wheels and ride at her own tempo, slowly reeling her way back to the riders just ahead of her at the top of the climb; claiming a great fifth place on the stage.