Tour de France — Exciting History!

Dramatic Soap Opera in the 1980s

The 1980s Tour was full of fascinating interactions between three riders (Bernard Hinault, Greg Le Mond, Laurent Fignon) plus Pedro Delgado and others.  Later, maybe by the end of 2014, this page will have more content, with minor revising/supplementing and many more links to history pages by other authors.

        The table below shows relationships between three key riders (Hinault, Fignon, LeMond) plus two others.  Notice that Hinault was dominant early, then Fignon was king (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!  In addition, there are fascinating stories about Pedro Delgado (in 1986-1989) who won impressively in 1988, 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.

 Bernard 
Hinault
 Laurent 
Fignon
Greg
 LeMond 
Pedro
 Delgado 
Miguel
 Indurain 
comments
 1977 
-
-
-
-
-
  
1978
WON
-
-
-
-
  
1979
WON
-
-
-
-
 
1980
 [#1 → drop] 
-
-
-
-
  
1981
WON
-
-
-
-
  
1982
WON
-
-
-
  
1983
- knee -
WON
2 ( + 1:42 )
15
-
F won by 7:52
1984
2 ( + 10:32 )
WON
3 ( + 11:46 )
[drop]
-
 
1985
WON
- knee -
2 ( + 1:42 )
6
-
could L have won?
1986
2 ( + 3:20 )
[drop]
WON
[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 )
17 (+ 31:21)
L won by 0:08
1990
-
[drop]
WON
4 (+ 5:01)
10 (+ 12:47)
 
1991
-
6 (+ 11:27)
7 (+ 13:13)
9 (+ 20:10)
WON
 
1992
-
23 ( +41:51)
[drop]
6 (+ 15:16)
WON
 
1993
-
-
-
9 (+ 23:57)
WON
 
1994
-
-
-
-
WON
 
1995
-
-
-
-
WON
 
1996
-
-
-
-
11 (+ 14:14)
 
1997
-
-
-
-
 
 

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