Labecki previously enjoyed a successful tenure at Team DSM which included wins at the Tour of Flanders and the Giro Donne, but was searching for new directions after five years on the Dutch squad.
“I think it was just time for change,” she said. “I was looking for a new challenge, a new environment. And the opportunity presented itself at the right time. So far, I think it’s been a good decision.”
Though only established in 2021 and this season being their first as a women’s WorldTeam, Jumbo-Visma have quickly become one of the top teams in the peloton. Their strong squad, which includes multiple-time World Champion Vos, was part of what attracted Labecki.
“I think being a new programme, it seemed like they were really organised already and the first year was really impressive,” she said. “The group of girls, it’s a good lineup, and I’m really honoured to be able to call them teammates. And then also the chance to race with Marianne. What I can learn from her is really applicable to me, as far as the style of riders that we are.”
Despite the similarities between their racing styles and objectives, Labecki is confident the pairing will be an asset to the team as they balance their ambitions in the spring Classics and into the summer’s stage races.
Last season Labecki won a stage at the Giro d’Italia Donne, while Vos won a pair. Among the longer one-day races, she finished seventh in her first-ever participation at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and was 10th in the elite women’s road race at the World Championships; Vos was fifth and second in those two races, respectively.
“It just reinforces our team and we have a couple more cards to play,” she said. “I think we’re both really professional. When someone’s better on the day, it’s just how it goes. But yeah, there’s a lot of respect there.”
Labecki is heading into her sixth year on a top-level European team, in addition to three years racing with UnitedHealthcare, but said there is still a lot for her to learn.
“I’ll be 30 this year, which is a little bit strange. I feel like I’m still pretty new at this.
“I do have five years under my belt but yeah, I don’t feel like I’m a well-seasoned veteran yet. I think there’s a lot that I don’t know yet and some small things. Maybe it’s not a lot, maybe it’s just the grind of the lifestyle. I think only time will really tell what I will learn.”
Though the lifestyle has been a challenge at times, particularly having to split her time between Europe and the US, Labecki is starting 2022 positive and motivated by the chance to continue to race at the highest level.
“I think I’m really approaching everything with a grateful attitude. Just being able to do this is special enough, so I have to be grateful for every day.”
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription