Two-times World Champion and three-times Tour de France winner, Greg 'L'Americain' LeMond, is the first non-European cyclist to win the Tour de France. Of course, cycling being a "European Sport" meant a Yank in yellow went down like a lead balloon, but Greg's victories kick-started some much-needed progress in growing the sport worldwide. Oh, and he's also the only person to have won the Tour de France after being shot... More on that later.
Another of his nicknames is 'LeMonster'. He may have ripped your legs off in the 80s, but off-bike, he's more 'LeMostLovelyChap'.
Here at LeBlanq, we like to continue Greg's iconic quote to add, "or slower." because we all know fitness goes up and down, but what never changes is the sensation of your effort. So whether you're first to the top or last, the hard work and feeling of accomplishment are universal.
Greg grew up in the Sierra Nevada, where he spent his childhood fishing, hiking, hunting and skiing. In the cycling world, he was a revolutionist — perhaps due to his multisport background. He approached the sport with a fresh perspective — without the blinkers of cycling history. For example, he was the first to ride a fully carbon bike in the Tour, introduced Oakley Eyeshades to the peloton in 1985, and then slapped a pair of triathlon bars on his TT bike and won the Tour de France in 1989.
In 1989, he was fighting an even tougher turkey, Laurent Fignon. During the final TT of the 89 Tour de France, he had to gain 50 seconds in 24.5 km. So, armed with his custom-made aerodynamic handlebars, he went head to head with “Le Professeur”.
Fignon averaged 53 kph during that TT, his fastest time-trial pace ever. But LeMond still gained 8-seconds on him. As a result, the 89 Tour remains the closest winning margin.
This is just a flavour of what makes Greg one of the most unique, revolutionary innovators or the most beautiful sport in the world. Join us in Champagne this Summer to hear all about his many victories, rivalries and inventions, and perhaps he'll tell you all about his stance on anti-doping - and the future of bike engineering.
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