The history of the Tour de France

Year 1991

THE STORY

  • Two-time defending champion Greg LeMond came into the 1991 Tour eager to repeat. And after momentarily taking the yellow jersey in the opening days, he looked fit for another Tour crown. But as soon as the race entered the Pyrénées, LeMond struggled. When he finally was dropped on the Tourmalet, his Tour chances collapsed. On the stage to Val Louron, up-and-coming Spanish star Miguel Indurain took over the yellow jersey. He rode strongly in the Alps, won the final time trial and easily consolidated his lead, becoming the fourth Spaniard to win the Tour.

  • Thierry Marie wins in Le Havre (stage 6) after a 234-km breakaway: one of the longest solitary breakaways in the history of the Tour deFrance. At the start, many expected LeMond's strongest challenge to come from the Dutch PDM team which housed top contenders Erik Breukink and Raul Alcala. But the entire team fell victim to a strange virus and one-by-one they were all forced to withdraw from the race.

  • Urs Zimmermann, disqualified because he didn’t transfer from Nantes to Pau by plane, is reinstated after the other riders asked for it. First Brasilian victory: Ribeiro’s, in Rennes. Last rider: Harmeling (158th) , 3 hours, 25 minutes and 51 seconds behind.

  • The P.D.M. riders retire from sickness after stage 11 (Saint-Herblain). Green jersey holder Abdoujaparov falls in the final sprint on the Champs-Elysées. Five towns host Tour for the first time.

  • A coup d'etat in Moscow undermines Mikhail Gorbachev; Boris Yeltsin becomes President of Russia; The United States liberates Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm; jazz legend Miles Davis dies.

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