Tour de France — a brief history

of epic races in 1985-1986 & 1989, with

top riders:  Hinault, Fignon, and Lemond, plus Delgado.

I.O.U. - Soon, by the end of 2017, this page will be revised-and-expanded, with more information from me, plus links to history pages & videos made by others.  Currently the page-beginning is very rough, with ideas that will be developed later.

From its beginning in 1903 until 1982, in the Tour de France two riders — Jacques Anquetil (1957, 1961-64) and Eddy Merckx (1969-72, 1974) — had won 5 titles. 

In 1982, Bernard Hinault won his 4th title.  H was dominant (won 4 of 5 years, 78-82) -- could anything prevent him from winning a 5th, and maybe more?  yes, injuries and young riders -- knee (in 80, 83), Fignon (83-84), LeMond (85-86)

"big picture" overview-history -->
83, injury for H, and Fignon won in his 1st TdF
84 - Fignon, and (for later) LeMond
85 - Lemond -- H and L on same team, and team ordered L to lose (to let H win)
86 - Lemond, + promise? (H promised to help L win in 86, but... did he?)
89 - Lemond vs Fignon (two comebacks)

During the 1980's, we saw fascinating interactions between three top riders (Bernard Hinault, Greg Le Mond, Laurent Fignon) who won the Tour 2 or more times, plus Pedro Delgado and others.

        The table below shows relationships between three key riders (Hinault, Fignon, LeMond) plus Delgado.  Notice that Hinault was dominant early, then Fignon (with a 10:32 margin of victory in 1984) but he was injured from 1985 thru 1988, while in 1985/1986 Hinault and LeMond traded wins — literally? both years they were teammates, and Lemond was told to “not try to win” in 1985, so Hinault promised (or did he?) to help Lemond win in 1986, but... — before Hinault retired and LeMond was shot with a shotgun, and 1989 was the closest race in TdF history, when Fignon (finally healthy again) entered the final day with a 50 second lead but lost the race to LeMond by only 8 seconds, partly because he refused to wear a modern aerodynamic helmet, instead decided to let his pony-tail flap in the wind!

Delgado -- And there are other fascinating stories.  For example, Pedro Delgado in 1989.  He was impressive winning the 1988 Tour, and in the first TV broadcast the announcer day of and many people thought in 1989 "all he had to do was show up" – but he didn't show up on time for the prologue (and lost 2:40), then lost several minutes more the next day in the Team Time Trial.  And about other riders.    {Phil Liggett-isms}

Drugs?  Although there was some "doping" — maybe by Delgado, and self-admittedly by Fignon with cortisone and also amphetamines but not EPO or other PEDs — most experts are confident that until the early 1990s there was very little use of highly effective Performance-Enhancing Drugs like EPO.  Hinault and Lemond are widely considered to be “clean” riders throughout their careers.   /   Later, TdF in 2006 — ending with The Mystery of Floyd Landis (who did what? or didn't?) — was the last TdF I watched with pleasure as a “fan” before I learned enough to become disillusioned by the widespread use of drugs in world-class cycling.

joot, quote from 80, consistency/durability 16 of 16 [qt wikip], many high finishes, 6 times got 2nd, list results in tdf

Lemond --
1981-84 - Renault–Elf–Gitane (w Fignon, 83, 84)
1985-87 - La Vie Claire (w Hinault, 85)
1988 - PDM-Ultima-Concorde (Delgado in 87, no win)
1989 - AD Renting–W-Cup–Bottecchia [ADR]
1990-94 - Z–Tomasso

 Bernard 
Hinault
 Laurent 
Fignon
Greg
 LeMond 
Pedro
 Delgado 
comments
 1977 
(H, no Tours)
-
-
-
  
1978
WON
-
-
-
 3:56 
1979
WON
-
-
-
3:07
1980
 [1 → drop
-
-
-
  6:21
1981
WON
-
-
-
  14:34
1982
WON
(F, no Tours)
-
(D, no Tours)
  
1983
- knee -
WON
(L, no Tours)
[2 → 15]
F won by 4:04
1984
2 ( + 10:32 )
WON
3 ( + 11:46 )
[drop]
on F's team 
1985
WON
- knee -
2 ( + 1:42 )
6
could L have won?
1986
2 ( + 3:20 )
[15 → drop]
WON
[5 → drop]*
did H try to win?
1987
retired
7 ( + 18:24)
- was shot -
2 (+ 0:40)
 
1988
-
[drop]
- recovering -
WON
 
1989
-
2 (+ 0:08)
WON
3 (+ 3:34 )
closest TdF finish
1990
-
[drop]
WON
4 (+ 5:01)
 
1991
-
6 (+ 11:27)
7 (+ 13:13)
9 (+ 20:10)
beginning of EPO?
1992
-
23 ( +41:51)
[drop]
6 (+ 15:16)
 
1993
-
-
-
9 (+ 23:57)
 
1994
-
-
-
-
 

 

 


this page is http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/teach/tdf-1980s.htm