The history of the Tour de France

Year 1989

THE STORY

  • Laurent Fignon, fresh off his Tour of Italy win, seemed well prepared to finally win the Tour again. But Greg LeMond was staging a come back of his own. After winning the first time trial, LeMond took over the yellow jersey. The lead bounced between the two rivals throughout much of the race. After the Alps, Fignon finally appeared to have the upper hand. But with a record-setting time trial on the final day, LeMond grabbed the jersey and overall victory by a mere eight seconds.

  • On paper Laurent Fignon certainly had the 1989 time trial wrapped up. It seemed impossible that Greg LeMond could make up the 50 seconds that separated the two riders on the final 24.5 kilometer time trial between Versailles and Paris. Fignon, however, was not at his best. Suffering from a saddle sore, he never managed to find his rythmn. LeMond, in contrast, aided by the use of the newfangled triathelete aerodynamic handle bars was flying towards Paris pushing an enormous 54X12 gearing. And after averaging 54.545 kph throughout the stage, Tour victory was incredibly his.

  • In the Dinard - Rennes time trial, LeMond experiments triathlete-type handlebars, which went on to be adopted by most riders. Le Tour celebrates the French revolution’s bi-centenary by awarding a 17.890 Francs bonus at kilometer 1789, in Martres-Tolosane (Luchon - Blagnac stage), where the Women’s Tour started. That same day, the Kelme team is eliminated. Last rider: Hermans (138th), 3 h 4 min. 1 sec. behind.

  • LeMond wins the Tour in front of the American embassy, at the Place de la Concorde. A masterpiece as well as a joke. Tour selection is based on F.I.C.P. rankings with the top 16 teams getting an automatic bid and the final four teams chosen on a wild card basis; elimination of white jersey.

  • Bicentennial of French Revolution; the Berlin wall is torn down; peaceful revolutions overthrow the communist regimes in Prague, Poland, Bulgaria and East Germany; Chinese military squash student movement; surrealist painter Salvador Dali dies.

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