Shooting for an unprecedented sixth Tour de France victory, Bernard Hinault attacked early in the 1986 Tour. Grabbing nearly a five-minute advantage on the stage to Pau, the French champion appeared well positioned to repeat. But when he cracked on the following stage to Superbagnères, his American teammate Greg LeMond all but took the yellow jersey from his shoulders. Eventually the jersey did fall to the American. And when the duo finished together on the Alpe d'Huez, LeMond virtually assured final victory.
Ironically Greg LeMond was not the first North American to wear the yellow jersey. That honor went to Canadian Alex Steida in the same year. Like his 7-Eleven teammates, Steida was making his Tour debut. He quickly made his presence know by attacking on the first sector of the Stage 1. Although he didn't win the stage, he picked up enough bonus seconds along the way to grab the yellow jersey. But in the second sector in the afternoon, Steida paid for his morning's efforts as he nearly finished outside the cut-off time in the team time trial.
The Bayonne - Pau stage, in the Pyrénées, follows a new route.
Thierry Marie wins the preliminary stage with a special bike using a saddle with dorsal support.
First time a Canadian rider wears the yellow jersey: Alex Stieda (1st stage).
Hinault wins the last stage in his career in the Saint-Andienne time trial.
Last rider: Salvador (132th), 2 h 55 min. 51 sec. behind.
The first American victory in the Tour and bernard Hinaults unexpected weakness.
More than 200 riders enter the Tour for the first time; first stage finish at the summit of the Granon climb.
Chernobyl nuclear accident; explosion of Challenger space shuttle; Cary Grant dies.