What became of Greg LeMond? Tour winner for 8 seconds

The American was one of the best runners of the 80s. He conquered three Tour and two World Cups. He had disagreements with Lance Armstrong.


Talking about Gregory James LeMond (Lakewood, California, 59 years old) means referring to one of the greatest legends in cycling history. This Friday, the American turns 59 springs, leaving behind him an infinity of successes of the highest caliber during his time as a professional runner. In his honors stand out above the rest the three Tour de France conquered in the years 1986, 1989 and 1990, leaving several records to remember. The most significant was achieved in his second Grande Boucle, a fact that speaks of Greg's indomitable and competitive character.

At that time, the American was playing the Tour with Laurent Fignon and after 20 stages he was on the ropes. The reigning champion was Perico Delgado, another of Greg's great rivals in the 1980s, but he was eliminated from the fight of that Tour at the first change after his mistake in the initial Luxembourg prologue. The heads-up against Fignon was resolved in a final 24.5 km time trial (Versailles-Paris) for history, in which LeMond started 50 seconds behind the Frenchman. The margin seemed sufficient, but Greg showed off his skills as a time trial (his great specialty) and pulverized the chronometer, setting an average speed of 54.5 km / h. Outcome? LeMond climbed to the top of the podium on the Champs Elysees for just 8 seconds, the smallest difference in Tour history. And that changed the course of the race until today, since since then the Tour has not organized a time trial again on the traditional arrival in Paris.Accident and Return

That year of 1989 undoubtedly forged the legend of LeMond on a sporting level. Before his conquest on French soil, the American won his second Road Cycling World Cup (the first was in 1983), for which he holds the record of being the only rider to have won the Tour after donning the rainbow jersey. But not everything was a walk in the park in his life. Before touching the sky, Greg was about to visit the hells. Death passed closely, but he was able to avoid it when in 1987 he suffered a hunting accident at his father's ranch in California. Her brother-in-law was startled after hearing a noise and shot LeMond by mistake, so he received 60 shot in the back. The miraculous appearance of a police helicopter flying over the area saved his life, since according to the doctors who operated on him, Greg would have completely bled out if he had arrived at the hospital twenty minutes later (he lost 65% of his blood volume ) .

Because of this, LeMond was unable to defend his title on the 1987 Tour and was also absent from the 1988 edition, so who knows if he would have managed to conquer a whopping five consecutive Gallic rounds. Whoever holds that record, Miguel Indurain, was precisely in charge of demonstrating the reality to the good LeMond in 1991: he was no longer there to win the Tour. That year began the decline of the American and the hegemony of the Navarrese, until in December 1994 he decided to hang the bike at 33 years old after almost four seasons without performing at a high level on the asphalt. Much was speculated about the real reason for their lack of competitiveness (possible disease, toxicity derived from the lead of the pellets ...), but LeMond himself confessed in 2010 that the increase in doping in those dark 90s was key: "The speeds were faster and the cyclists I used to win before now beat me. "

Entrepreneur, commentator and controversy with Armstrong

Beyond two wheels and highways, LeMond has led an especially active life. In 1990 Greg founded a bicycle brand using his own name, pioneering the use of carbon fiber bicycles. On the brink of bankruptcy, LeMond partnered in 1995 with manufacturer Trek, a brand that supplied bicycles to Lance Armstrong and one of the main Texan sponsors. There began the controversy ...

Greg, who has never been very in favor of biting his tongue, publicly expressed his doubts about the cleaning of Armstrong (due to his relationship with Dr. Ferrari) during the conquests of his Tours, something that not only infuriated Lance (who intimidated and threatened both LeMond and his wife via phone calls) but also tarnished the image of the Trek brand. After a few years of exchanging demands on both sides, 'LeMond Bikes' and Trek separated their ways. Interestingly, after the UCI withdrew his seven Tours from Armstrong, Greg is the only American rider in history to have conquered the Tour. And that was the only business LeMond embarked on since he also owns a restaurant in Minnesota, in addition to partnering with several cafeteria franchises.

On a personal level, the American is still married to his wife Kathy Morris and has three children. In 2014 he made his first steps on television when he joined the Eurosport commentary team, earning a place in cycling programming with his monthly program LeMond of Cycling. His multifaceted plan also highlights his adventure in motorsport, since he competed in Formula Ford after leaving cycling, and his love of fishing. He is also the founder of a non-profit organization with his wife, thanks to which they help people who have suffered sexual abuse during childhood. This is the story of Greg LeMond, the 11th cyclist in the Cycling Hall of Fame of the International Cycling Union (UCI), where the 100 best riders of all time are listed.



Photos from as.com
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