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Labous selected ahead of Cordon-Ragot to represent France at Tokyo Olympics

Juliette Labous waves to the crowd after winning the French Elite time trial championship between Locmine and Grand Champ 284km western France on August 21 2020 Photo by Damien MEYER AFP Photo by DAMIEN MEYERAFP via Getty Images
Juliette Labous after winning the French women's elite time trial championships (Image credit: Getty Images)

Juliette Labous has been selected to represent France in the road race and time trial at the Tokyo Olympics in July, meaning national road race champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot will miss out. 

The selection of the 22-year-old French time trial champion was announced by Fédération Française de Cyclisme on Twitter: “First Olympic experience for the French stopwatch champion, who will represent France in the road race and the time trial.”

The number of riders a nation is allocated is decided by their ranking, with France only qualifying for one spot in both the road race and time trial, whereas the top five nations are allowed four riders in the road race and two in the time trial.

Labous, who races for Team DSM, won the youth classification at both the Giro Rosa and the Tour of California in 2019, took third in the final stage of the Giro Rosa last year and has delivered a number of ten results this year, including sixth at Flèche Wallonne Féminine. Labous is currently the second best placed French rider in the UCI rankings, sitting in 36th place, immediately behind Cordon-Ragot in 35th. 

The 31-year-old road race national champion, who is most often found in the role of domestique at the talent-packed team of Trek-Segafredo, said she was obviously disappointed not to have been selected. 

“I wanted to be at the start but I knew that the challenge would be difficult to meet,” said the 31-year-old French rider in a post on Twitter. “I accept my choice to have stayed on a team where my role is to support my leaders and where it is more difficult for me to achieve personal results.”

Cordon-Ragot’s best finish so far this year has been a 24th at Strade Bianche. Last year she won a stage of the Tour Feminin de l'Ardeche, came fifth at the European Championships and also finished 13th in the road race at the World Championships and 11th in the time trial, where Labous came 41st and 17th.

“I… remained myself, fighting, honest and upright. I have no regrets," said the 2012 and 2016 Olympian. "I wish to [Juliette Labous] a great Olympic experience. I believe in her chances of shining in Tokyo and will be fully behind her and the France team.”

The elite women's 137 kilometre road race is scheduled for July 25, with the women's course ending at the Fuji International Speedway but not going over Mt. Fuji like the men's, but it will still include a total 2,692 metres of climbing. The 22.1km individual time trial will then be held on July 28.