The 1986 Tour de France was the 73rd Tour de France, taking place July 4 to July 27, 1986. The total race distance was 4094 km, distributed over 23 stages and a prologue. It was won by Greg LeMond, the first American to win the Tour. This year also had the first American cycling team, 7-Eleven, entered in Tour history.
Following the success of Bernard Hinault the previous year, the La Vie Claire team was heavily favored. In the 1985 Tour de France, Bernard Hinault promised to return LeMond's support to win the race. However, continuing attacks cast doubt on Hinault's sincerity. He claimed that his tactics were simply to wear down LeMond's (and his) opponents and that he ultimately knew that LeMond would be the winner because of time losses earlier in the race. Regardless of his true motives, this tactic worked well, and rivals Laurent Fignon and Urs Zimmermann were put on the defensive from the first day. Laurent Fignon quit the race due to injuries aggravated by stress.
The ascent of the legendary Alpe d'Huez gave spectators a spectacular stage in which Hinault made a suicidal solo attack to demoralize the opposition, to be matched only by LeMond at the top. In a gesture of respect, the two riders reached the top hand-in-hand, beaming smiles, and LeMond let Hinault finish first to claim the stage. However, within hours their competition resumed during interviews in French television.
In the end, LeMond was crowned winner of the race and Hinault retired shortly afterwards.
Famous quotes containing the words tour and/or france:
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