Laurent Fignon: We Were Young And Carefree

Another cracking read that exposes professional cycling today in a poor light (in excitement terms) to that of the past. Was Laurent’s 1983 win fortuitous? Would he have overcome Simon and won anyway? These questions are always tough. One thing is for sure though: the time trial did not decide the Tour pre Indurain. The battle with Hinault on the Grenoble to L’Alp d’Huez stage is tremendous; trading blows on the Col du Coq and Cote de Laffrey, really hammering each other before Hinault’s suicide “do or die” break on the Alp which ended in final victory for Fignon. One just cannot see today’s sterile production line riders providing that sort of entertainment and EXCITEMENT! Real excitement, not some sad attack in the last 3km of a stage to grab 30 seconds; but a proper break in the mountains to grab five minutes.

His injury which ruled him out from 1986 to 1989 is also documented, especially the frustration he endured, and all from hitting his achilles tendon with his pedal! The “stitch-up” in the 1984 Giro which saw the hardest mountain stage cancelled because of supposed adverse weather conditions (which did not stop the race in 1988 when Hampsten won it) which gifted Moser the race, and of course, the incredible 1989 Tour and his battle with Lemond and Delgado resulting in the incredible eight second win for Lemond.  His description of his last day as a pro is very touching too.

Another fascinating read (especially for those who were not there at the time) which illustrates the time when riders attacked to win instead of defending to win.

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