Monthly Archives: October 2009

Défaillance, part 3: les hommes forts

The 1992 season for Greg LeMond was the beginning of his slow descent. But what we can now see with hindsight was not so evident at the time. “I can’t believe that a rider of his quality is finished at 31,” his director, Roger Legeay, had said.

Before looking in detail at LeMond’s disastrous seasons in 1993 and 1994, it is worth pausing to comment on the adversaries that he was up against in those years and the performance shift that was underway in professional cycling.

At the press conference after the 1991 Tour, where LeMond finished 7th, Miguel Indurain – the winner – sat down next to him. “L’homme fort,” LeMond said, according to Samuel Abt (Indurain did not speak French, nor did he understand it when LeMond repeated it in English, Abt noted).

But it was not just Indurain ‘the strong man’ that LeMond had to worry about. Continue reading

L’étape colossale

One hundred years after the Tour de France first ventured into the Pyrenees, the 2010 parcours will pay homage to the 1910 Tour’s queen stage, l’étape colossale, as L’Auto called it at the time.

The media are billing next year as the showdown between the returning champion, Alberto Contador, and the former seven-time winner on the second year of his comeback, Lance Armstrong.

Equipe 09
L’Equipe’s take on next year’s race.

Gone, it would seem, from the pages of L’Equipe, is the old mistrust of Armstrong – Le Mensonge Armstrong – in favour of the Tour as ‘a battlefield’ between the old champion and his former teammate on his ascendency. Continue reading