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Greg LeMond and the number 5(17 posts)

Greg LeMond and the number 5Smeagol
Jun 19, 2003 4:54 AM
As the tour approaches, I always think back to my hero, who I have had the pleasure to ride with: Greg LeMond. I saw him sacrifice a win in 1985 so Hineau could get his fifth win. In 1986 he was promised support, but had to deal with being backstabbed by Hineau. He did win. Then he was in a hunting accident, and came close to never riding again, let alone lucky just to be alive. He wasn't even considered to win in 1989, on Mavic by the way to answer an earlier post. He was riding poorly prior to the tour that year. The tour was exiciting and it was fight back and forth with Fignon. LeMond won the tour by eight seconds on a final stage individual time trial. He won it again in 1990 for his third. Had Greg LeMond not been shot, would he have won five?
I think he would have....but...bicycle268
Jun 19, 2003 5:26 AM
...I don't think they would have been 5 in a row and they perhaps wouldn't have been as decisive as Lance's. With Lance, you have a team solely dedicated to putting lance on top of the podium. With Lemond, the team would be there for him but would be pressured to amass stage wins as well. Team loyalty seemed to be fleeting in those days. IMHO
Good point on team loyalty (in those days) . . .ElvisMerckx
Jun 19, 2003 8:05 AM
It was even more interesting to see numerous teams collude in 1989 to help Greg beat Fignon. Not to take anything away from Greg -- his "'89 Comeback Special" is one of the greatest moments in sports -- but his ADR Team was weak, and were it not for the blocking, tempo, pacing, chasing, etc by numerous teams who loathed Fignon, LeMond might not have been so close behind Fignon at the start of the final TT.
Please expand further on your collusion thing...eschelon
Jun 19, 2003 9:42 AM
You are saying that everyone hated Fignon so much that they really were willing to go this far to flick someone? Surely, you jest?
It's true!!!ElvisMerckx
Jun 19, 2003 10:49 AM
Believe me, I am a HUGE LeMond fan and I followed this TdF closely. Keep in mind that because LeMond had come back from a near-death shotgun injury and had ridden into yellow during the first major TT that year, all of France (all of Europe . . . the WORLD for that matter) was drawn to the story. The French press was duly impressed and when Fignon took the Yellow jersey from LeMond, people's perceptions of him as a nerdy professor-type swiftly changed to that of an evil villain. And if Fignon and his "Super U" team weren't evil enough, LeMond was riding for the lowly Belgian team ADR. They were they ultimate underdog: weak and their numbers were dwindling (only 4 finished including Greg and, here's a nice bit of cycling trivia for you: Johan Musseuw). However, the joke at the time was that LeMond was riding for the greatest team ever assembled: Theunisse, Delgado, Hampsten and all of 7-Eleven etc. (Yes, Theunisse & Delgado were bitter rivals with LeMond at the time, but they too succumbed to the magic of "The Greatest Comeback Of All Time"). Still, this shouldn't detract from Greg's win. If he'd been on a stronger team the '89 TdF might not have been so incredible.
Your passion is contagious! nmeschelon
Jun 19, 2003 11:48 AM
re: Greg LeMond and the number 5RonC
Jun 19, 2003 7:04 AM
Coulda woulda... If Merckx hadn't crashed into his derny man he might have won 6 or more. I believe Coppi spent time in a prisoner-of-war camp during WWII. The point is that had these various impediments not been thrown in the way of other great riders, five wouldn't be the magic number that it is.
Who Knows? (or cares?)djg
Jun 19, 2003 7:17 AM
He probably had the talent to win five . . . or not. Stuff happens in sports and it's not as if he didn't have competitors, fifi among them. The tour he "sacrificed" to Hinault was a case of giving in to tremendous team pressure (not to mention a team car lie about just how bad Hinault was struggling on that fateful day). With decent support, GL probably would have won that tour, but it wasn't in the bag. Certainly the tours he missed due to his hunting accident were not in the bag--getting shot by your brother-in-law is just an extreme and ludicrous illustration of the many things that can go wrong in building a dynasty. Winning once is a great accomplishment. Winning three times is really something. He did what he did.
Who Knows? (or cares?)LeadvilleBlues
Jun 19, 2003 7:33 AM
Hey Dig, tighten up those reins JR.!!! Perhaps you weren't born yet, or still in diapers and training wheeels at the time. Who cares alot of people still do I'm sure. Think of all the people tht Greg brought into the sport. I know I was hooked on racing a bike the moment I saw him race in the Red Zinger Classic ! You have to give him a bit of credit for moments like this.
Jun 19, 2003 10:05 AM
Born in 1960--LeMond came way after diapers and way before depends.

I'm not sure why you're asking me to think about all the people LeMond brought into the sport. That seems kind of irrelevant to me. I wasn't criticizing the man's cycling accomplishments, which seem to me to be many and pretty darn great. I just never got into the whole woulda', coulda', shoulda' sort of arguments about former sports champions. GL versus Lance? I don't care. LeMond versus Joe Louis in ping pong? What if Joe was in his prime?
he should neverafrican
Jun 19, 2003 7:36 AM
have given the win to Hineault. NEVER, I am sure he regrets it to this day.
Who regrets it more ... LeMond or Hinault?El Guapo
Jun 19, 2003 8:22 AM
I'm sure LeMond regrets gifting that Tour to Hinault. But, don't you think that somewhere, in the back of "the Badgers" brain, there has to be this little nagging doubt of: "LeMond GAVE that Tour to me". It took a cocky Frenchman with only one desire in his career (humble everyone and make them worship him as the Champion he believed himself to be), a team dedicated through national pride to that same Frenchman and a shotgun blast to the hip to keep LeMond from winning more than the 3 he won. History books will remember that Hinault won that Tour. But, the cycling community at large will always remember that the proverbial bow had already been tied on that gift by LeMond. LeMond had "Character" and "Honor". Hinault was a spoiled brat.
You answered your own questionoutofthesaddle
Jun 19, 2003 11:49 AM
"Hinault was a spoiled brat." LeMond regrets it more.
re: he should nevercyclopathic
Jun 19, 2003 8:32 AM
he was lied to, end of story. However, you should give a credit to Hinault in '85 riding with broken nose after face plant in previous stage and winning tour.
re: he should neverEl Guapo
Jun 19, 2003 8:45 AM
I'm sure LeMond would have LOVED to have been the CAUSE of that broken nose! Imagine he dreams of Hinault retrieving his mussette at the feed zone and finding nothing in it, but, SURPRISE ... Knuckle sandwich!
re: he should nevercyclopathic
Jun 19, 2003 9:36 AM
to tell the truth I am not sure that when team car ordered Greg to stop it was coming from Hinault not from director sportiff.

By any means what Hinault did in '86 makes him a pig; but at least Greg was riding in '86. When in '01 LA didn't like Virenque he kicked him out of tour line up.
Yes ..five in a rowDeRosaOrBust
Jun 19, 2003 9:16 AM
There is no doubt that he would have won five in a row IMHO. In 1987 ..Delgado and Roche fought a nice battle for the tour, but neither of them could ever beaten Lemond. The were both great riders, but Lemond and Hinault were in a different class. In 1988 Delgado won the tour. While Delgado was a very good climber, his TT skills were weak. Lemond never had a problem matching Delgado on the hills either. I've always felt that Lemond was one of the greatest all around cyclist. His climbing and TT were top notch he also had a very nice sprint. Like others have said on here, we'll never know what would have happened.