This time it was Laurent Fignon's turn to bypass the Tour due to injury, and Bernard Hinault was back with force. His biggest challenge, however, came from his own teammate Greg LeMond. The American won the final time trial and finished second to Hinault by less than two minutes. Nevertheless, Hinault won the prologue and one stage, to join Jacques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx in the elite circle of five-time Tour winners.
Although Hinault rode strongly, some felt that his teammate Greg LeMond could actually have won the Tour. After crashing, Hinault was not at his best in the Pyrénées. On the climb to Luz-Ardiden, LeMond and Ireland's Stephen Roche dropped Hinault. LeMond even appeared capable of grabbing the yellow jersey from his leader's back. But he was forbidden to attack by his team director. The American would have to wait another year before he would have his chance to be in yellow.
The Hinault - Pelier altercation. The badger, as Hinault was called, brings the young attacking rider back to order to do him a favor, he said, because hes wasting too much energy and committing suicide..."
New equipment appears in the Tour (automatic pedals, special wheels)
First time Miguel Indurain takes part in the race (100st of the preliminary stage, withdraws at the fourth stage).
Last rider: Ronchiato (144th), 4 h 13 min. 48 sec. behind.
Hinault joins Anquetil and Merckx, with five Tour wins each, and LeMond gets the first American stage win ever at the Lac de Vassivière.
Introduction of the multi-designed combined jersey. Stage finish on the Aubisque summit.
Mikhail Gorbachev Soviet leader; the wreck of the Titanic is found 4000 meters under the sea; the Green Peace vessel Rainbow Warrior is blown up along the New Zealand coast; film director Orison Wells dies; painter Marc Chagall dies.