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Greg LeMond
LeMond at the start of the last stage in the 1990 Tour de France.
LeMond at the start of the last stage in the 1990 Tour de France.
Personal information
Full name Gregory James LeMond
Date of birth June 26, 1961 (1961-06-26) (age 48)
Country United States
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type All-Rounder
Professional team(s)1
1981–1983
1984
1985–1986
1987
1988
1989
1990–1992
1993–1994
Renault-Elf-Gitane
Renault
La Vie Claire
Toshiba-Look
PDM
ADR
Z
Gan
Major wins
Arc en ciel.svg 1983 World Championships
Jersey yellow.svg1986 Tour de France
Jersey yellow.svg1989 Tour de France
Arc en ciel.svg 1989 World Championships
Jersey yellow.svg1990 Tour de France
Infobox last updated on:
7 April 2009

1 Team names given are those prevailing
at time of rider beginning association with that team.

Gregory James LeMond (born June 26, 1961) is a former professional road bicycle racer from the United States and a three-time winner of the Tour de France. He was born in Lakewood, California.

In 1986, LeMond became the first American cyclist to win the Tour de France. In 1987, he was accidentally shot and seriously injured in a hunting accident (by his brother-in-law), taking two years to recover before returning to win the Tour again in 1989 and 1990, becoming one of only eight cyclists to have won the Tour three or more times.

Contents

Racing career

LeMond was a standout junior rider and quickly established himself as a talented cyclist. Soon after his initial success, he began competing against older, more seasoned racers and gained the attention of the US national cycling team. LeMond went on to win gold, silver and bronze medals at the 1979 junior world championships in Argentina and amazed spectators with his spectacular victory in the road race. He was picked for the 1980 Olympic cycling team but was unable to compete due to the US boycott of the summer Moscow games. With the guidance of Cyrille Guimard he joined the European peloton, first racing with the Paris-based Union Sportive de Creteil where he first realized he could compete with the Europeans after winning a stage and coming third overall in the demanding Circuit des Ardennes thus providing the catalyst for his successful career. In 1981 he then began racing professionally with the Renault-Elf-Gitane team. He finished in second place with a silver medal at the 1982 World Cycling Championship and become the first American to win a road world championship the following year. He soon began preparing for the more demanding Grand Tours.

LeMond rode his first Tour de France in 1984 and finished third, winning the young rider classification. In the 1985 Tour the managers of his La Vie Claire team ordered the 24-year-old LeMond to ride in support of his team captain Bernard Hinault, who was leading the race but suffering from injuries sustained in a crash, instead of riding to win the race. LeMond finished second, 1:42 behind Hinault, who was able to claim his fifth Tour victory. LeMond later asserted in an interview that the team management and his coach Paul Koechli had lied to him during a crucial stage, telling him Hinault was close behind when in fact Hinault lagged by more than three minutes.

A year later in the 1986 Tour, Hinault and LeMond were co-leaders of the La Vie Claire team, with Hinault publicly promising to ride in support of LeMond in gratitude for LeMond's sacrifice in 1985. By stage 12, Hinault had built up a five-minute lead over LeMond, claiming he was trying to draw out LeMond's rivals, but he cracked in the mountains the next day and soon LeMond was in the lead. Although the two crested the Alpe d'Huez together to win the stage in a show of unity, it was clear that Hinault had been riding aggressively against his teammate. LeMond ultimately took the yellow jersey that year but felt betrayed by Hinault.

Disaster struck LeMond while turkey-hunting in California, April 20, 1987, when his brother-in-law accidentally discharged his shotgun, striking LeMond in the back just over two months before the 1987 Tour de France was to begin. LeMond missed the following two Tours while recovering, also undergoing surgery for appendicitis and for tendinitis in his leg.

At the 1989 Tour de France, with 37 shotgun pellets remaining in his body (including two in the lining of his heart), LeMond was hoping only to finish in the top 20. Heading into the final stage, however, an individual time trial finishing in Paris, LeMond was in second place overall. He was 50 seconds behind Laurent Fignon, who had won the Tour in 1983 and 1984. LeMond rode the time trial using novel aero bars, which gave him an aerodynamic advantage, to beat Fignon by 58 seconds to claim his second yellow jersey with a final margin of eight seconds – the closest in the Tour's history. LeMond's average speed in the time trial, 54.545 km/h, was the fastest in Tour de France stage history; since then, only the 1994 prologue has been faster.[1] As LeMond danced in victory on the Champs-Élysées, Fignon sat and wept. Several days later, Fignon attributed his loss to saddle sores. However, it was noted that Fignon had been overconfident on the last stages of the Tour, even congratulating LeMond on his second place, allowing LeMond to gain an advantage which proved decisive. LeMond's comeback was confirmed by winning his second world road championship several weeks later, beating Dimitri Konyshev and Seán Kelly in the final sprint. LeMond was named Sports Illustrated magazine's 1989 "Sportsman of the Year", the first cyclist to receive the honor.

LeMond won the Tour for the third time in 1990. This Tour saw a group including Claudio Chiappucci, then at the start of his career and relatively unknown, gain a lead of 10 minutes 35 seconds in Stage 1 [the prologue not being given a stage number] , which LeMond steadily chipped away through the mountain stages, leaving Chiappucci with a five-second lead before the final individual time trial. LeMond placed fifth in the time trial, beating Chiappucci by more than two minutes and taking the lead of the race. He became one of the few cyclists to win the Tour without winning a stage.

In 1992, LeMond became the first American to win the Tour DuPont, a short-lived American answer to the Tour de France that took place from 1991 to 1996. LeMond won the prologue in record time and it was his first American win since the mid-1980s. The 1992 Tour DuPont victory was Greg LeMond's last major win of his career.

LeMond retired from racing in 1994, blaming mitochondrial myopathy for his deteriorating performance since 1990.[2] In 2007, he said he didn't believe he had had the illness at all, blaming his condition on overtraining.[3]

In the 1997 career retrospective interview Once Was King with Bryan Malessa, LeMond rued his lost opportunities, noting he had "given away" the 1985 Tour and missed it altogether in 1987 and 1988 after being shot. "Of course you can't rewrite racing history", he said, "but I'm confident that I would have won five Tours."

Post-racing career

LeMond founded LeMond Bicycles in 1990, while he was still racing, but it faltered, something LeMond blames on "undercapitalization" and poor management by his father (a former real estate agent).[4] In 1992, LeMond struck a deal with Trek in which it would license his name for bicycles it would build, distribute and help design, but which would be sold under LeMond's name. This is often summarized as a sale to Trek, although he still owns the company. LeMond says the deal with Trek "destroyed" his relationship with his father.[4] In 2001, the Trek deal proved painful for LeMond, as he was forced by John Burke, the head of Trek, to apologize for comments that seemed to impugn Lance Armstrong, by then a more important marketing force for Trek than LeMond. After a showdown with Burke, LeMond read a formal apology to Armstrong.[5]

In March 2008 Lemond filed a lawsuit against Trek for breach of contract, claiming that they had not made a "best efforts" attempt to sell his bicycles. His complaint included statistics detailing slow sales in some markets, including the fact that between September of 2001 and June of 2007, Trek only sold $10,393 worth of LeMond bikes in France, a country in which Lemond remains both famous and popular.[6] A month later Trek countersued and stopped building bikes under the LeMond brand.[7] In connection with that announcement Trek also gave a short timeline of the Trek-Greg LeMond association.[8] These lawsuits were settled in February 2010. Though the details of the settlement was keep confidential, it did involve a $200,000 donation by Trek to 1in6.org, a charity with which Lemond is affiliated.[9]

Greg LeMond also founded LeMond Fitness. He took up auto racing for a few years. In the 1990s he created a restaurant called Tour de France on France Avenue in a retail district of Edina, Minnesota. He lives in Medina, Minnesota, United States. More recently, he was the guest speaker for Sumitomo Drive Technologies' International Sales Meeting in Cancun, Mexico on May 2, 2008. In 2008, LeMond narrated an award-winning documentary for Adventures for the Cure.

Anti-doping stance and controversy

Greg LeMond was one of the first professional cyclists of note to openly discuss the sport's extensive and troubled relationship with performance-enhancing substances[citation needed]. This stance has brought him into conflict with some of the most famous names in the sport.

Lance Armstrong

In July 2001, LeMond criticized Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong for continuing to associate with Michele Ferrari, an Italian physician and sports trainer who has at various times admitted to practicing blood doping, advocated the controlled use of banned substance Erythropoietin by athletes, and accused by professional cyclists of providing banned substances.[10][11][12][13]

When Lance won the prologue to the 1999 Tour I was close to tears, but when I heard he was working with Michele Ferrari I was devastated. In the light of Lance's relationship with Ferrari, I just don't want to comment on this year's Tour. This is not sour grapes. I'm disappointed in Lance, that's all it is.[14]

A month later, LeMond issued an apology for this comment, calling Armstrong "a great champion... I believe his performances are the result of the same hard work, dedication and focus that were mine 10 years ago."[15]

LeMond spoke out again three years later, after additional Tour de France wins by Armstrong. "If Armstrong's clean, it's the greatest comeback. And if he's not, then it's the greatest fraud." He also described the fallout of his 2001 statement, alleging that Armstrong had threatened to defame him, and that his business interest had also been threatened.

[Armstrong] basically said 'I could find 10 people that will say you took EPO'... The week after, I got multiple people that were on Lance ... Lance's camp, basically saying 'you better be quiet,' and I was quiet for three years. I have a business ... I have bikes that are sold ... and I was told that my sales might not be doing too well if ... just the publicity, the negative publicity.[16]

The same month, LeMond also stated to newspaper Le Monde: "Lance is ready to do anything to keep his secret. I don't know how he can continue to convince everybody of his innocence."[17]

In a 2007 interview, LeMond accused Amstrong of trying to sabotage his relationship with Trek bicycles, and described him by saying "I just think he's not a good person and that's all I can say. I mean, he's a facade, if you knew the real Lance Armstrong that I know. I think he fronts himself as a guy who is loving and caring. From my experience, he's not a nice guy and I've had some very difficult periods with him. And I don't believe he'll finish up having any friends in cycling."[18]

Floyd Landis

On May 17, 2007, LeMond testified at a USADA hearing convened to weigh the evidence of doping by Floyd Landis during the 2006 Tour de France. Under oath, he described a phone conversation he had with Floyd Landis on August 6, 2006, as well as another with Will Geoghegan, Landis' business manager, on May 16, the evening before the testimony. The major points of the testimony are as follow:

  • In an August 6 phone conversation, LeMond said he told Landis that If you did (admit to having used banned substances), you could single-handedly change the sport. You could be the one who will salvage the sport, to which Landis allegedly responded What good would it do? If I did, it would destroy a lot of my friends and hurt a lot of people.[19]
  • LeMond disclosed his childhood sexual abuse to Landis. I was sexually abused before I got into cycling, and it nearly destroyed me by keeping it secret, LeMond stated he told Landis. (Lying about doping) will come back to haunt you when you are 40 or 50. If you have a moral compass and ethics, this will destroy you.[19]
  • Will Geoghegan called LeMond at his personal mobile phone number the night before the scheduled testimony. LeMond reported that Geoghegan said Hi Greg, this is your uncle. I’ll be there tomorrow and we can talk about how we used to hide your weenie.[20] LeMond's BlackBerry, with Geoghegan's phone number captured in the call log, was entered into evidence.[19]

Following the testimony, Landis' legal team announced that Geoghegan had just been fired as Landis' business manager. Geoghegan was also observed by reporters approaching LeMond during the break. LeMond later stated to reporters that Geoghegan had admitted making the call, and "tried to apologize".[19] Landis has admitted to being in the same room as Geoghegan when the call was made,[21] and defended his decision not to fire Geoghegan until after the LeMond testimony, saying he had been waiting for legal advice.[22] Landis testified at the hearing that Geoghegan came to know of LeMond's childhood sexual abuse through discussions with the defense team, and obtained his personal mobile phone number by syncing their phones together. Geoghegan blamed "a beer or two" for his action, and entered an undisclosed rehab facility on May 21.[23] The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office opened an investigation of the incident as a potential witness tampering[24] and then terminated the case without prosecution on July 31.[25]

LeMond's testimony is supported by an online posting Floyd Landis made on the Daily Peloton forum, in which he states that LeMond disclosed personal information of a sensitive nature to Landis, and threatens to use the information to damage LeMond if LeMond continues to speak about Landis' doping case::

Unfortunately, the facts that he divulged to me in the hour which he spoke and gave no opportunity for me to do the same, would damage his character severely and I would rather not do what has been done to me. However, if he ever opens his mouth again and the word Floyd comes out, I will tell you all some things that you will wish you didn't know and unfortunately I will have entered the race to the bottom which is now in progress. For the record, I don't know Greg, and have no more respect for Greg than I have for people who go through life blaming others for all of their problems. You are not a victim of others Greg, you are a pathetic human who believes that if others didn't cheat (not sure about you) you would be the President and all the peasants would bow to your command. Join reality with the rest of us who win some and lose some and keep on smiling. ...[26]

Aftermath of the Landis testimony

Several weeks after his testimony, Greg LeMond and his wife Kathy gave an extensive interview to the Sunday Times. He provided additional details on the circumstances of his 2001 apology to Armstrong, stating that Trek, the longtime manufacturer and distributor of LeMond Racing Cycles, had threatened to end the relationship at the behest of Armstrong. He described the two years that followed the forced apology as the worst in his life, marked by self-destructive behavior that ultimately led him to disclose his sexual abuse to his wife and seek help. LeMond also described how being a victim of molestation had impacted both his racing career and his life since.[27] In September 2007, Greg LeMond became a founding board member of the non-profit organization 1in6.org, whose mission is "to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthy, happy lives".[28]

Alberto Contador

On July 23, 2009, LeMond wrote an opinion article[29] in the French newspaper Le Monde questioning Alberto Contador's climb up Verbier in the 2009 Tour de France. In the opinion piece, LeMond calculates Contador's VO2 max as 99.5 ml/mn/kg, which LeMond claims has never been achieved (LeMond has been calculated at 92.5 ml/mn/kg [30]). "The burden is then on Alberto Contador to prove he is physically capable of performing this feat without the use of performance-enhancing products," LeMond goes on to declare. LeMond equates this to a Mercedes winning a Formula One race. "There is something wrong," LeMond writes. "It would be interesting to know what's under the hood." However, other experts in exercise physiology have questioned LeMond's calculation of 99.5 ml/mn/kg. In an article from Cyclingnews.com, published later the same day as LeMond's piece, expert Andrew Coggan questions the validity of LeMond's allegations. [31] He states that "a more reasonable estimate of Contador's power during that ascent is about 450 W, which would require a sustained VO2 of 'only' 80 mL/kg/min"(although if this is operating at 90% his VO2 Max would still the very high figure of 89 mL/kg/min); which is "still high, but not so high that you can definitively state that it can only be achieved via doping".

Major achievements and accolades

Source:[32]

1979
Arc en ciel.svg UCI Road World Championships Junior Men's Road Race
1980
3rd Overall Circuit des Ardennes
1st, Stage 5 Circuit des Ardennes
Member, United States Olympic Cycling Team
1981 – Renault-Elf-Gitane

First year as a professional.

Coors Classic (1st overall; 2 stage wins)
Tour of Oise (1 stage win)
1982 – Renault-Elf-Gitane
Tour de l'Avenir (1st overall; 3 stage wins)
UCI Road World Championships Road Race (2nd-Silver Medal)
Tour Méditerranéen (2nd overall)
Grand Prix des Nations (2nd)
1983 – Renault-Elf-Gitane
Arc en ciel.svg UCI Road World Championships Road Race (1st - Gold Medal)
Dauphiné Libéré (1st overall; 3 stage wins)
Tour Méditerranéen (Stage 1 win)
Giro di Lombardia (2nd)
1984 – Renault
Tour de France (3rd overall; Jersey white.svg1st young rider, 1st Stage 3 Team Time Trial)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (3rd)
Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (3rd overall; Stage 7b win)
Tirreno-Adriatico (5th overall)
1985 – La Vie Claire
UCI Road World Championships Road Race (2nd - Silver Medal)
Coors Classic (1st overall; Stage 5 win)
Tour de France (2nd overall; 2nd points; 1st Stage 21 ITT)
Giro d'Italia (3rd overall)
Vuelta al País Vasco (2nd overall)
Paris-Roubaix (4th)
Omloop Het Volk (4th)
1986 – La Vie Claire
Tour de France (Jersey yellow.svg1st overall; Stage 13 win; 7 days in maillot jaune)
Giro d'Italia (4th overall; Stage 5 win)
Milan-Sanremo (2nd)
Coors Classic (2nd overall; Stage 5 win)
Tour de Suisse (3rd overall; 1st points classification)
Paris-Nice (3rd overall)
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (6th overall; Stage 4 win)
1988
Tour of the Americas (2nd overall)
1989 – ADR
Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year
ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year
Arc en ciel.svg UCI Road World Championships Road Race (1st - Gold Medal)
Tour de France (Jersey yellow.svg1st overall; Stage 5 ITT win; Stage 19 win; Stage 21 Champs-Élysées ITT; 7 days in maillot jaune)
Tour of the Americas (3rd overall)
Corestates U.S. Pro Cycling Championships (9th)
Giro d'Italia (39th overall)
1990 – Z
ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year
Tour de France (Jersey yellow.svg1st overall; 2 days in maillot jaune)
Züri-Metzgete (2nd)
UCI Road World Championships Road Race (4th)
Giro d'Italia (105th overall)
1991 – Z
World's Most Outstanding Athlete Award, Jesse Owens International Trophy
Tour de France (7th overall; 6 days in maillot jaune)
Tour DuPont (12th overall)
1992 – Z
USA Cycling's Korbel Lifetime Achievement Award
Tour DuPont (1st overall; Prologue (ITT))
1996
Inductee, United States Bicycling Hall of Fame
1999
Fox Sports Network's "50 Greatest Athletes of the Century"
2006
International Cycling Center's "Lifetime Achievement Award" winner

See also

References

  1. ^ "Le Tour en chiffres Les autres records" (in French). LeTour.fr. http://www.letour.fr/2009/TDF/COURSE/docs/histo_09.pdf. 
  2. ^ "Greg LeMond Ending Career," Samuel Abt, International Herald Tribune, 3 December 1994
  3. ^ Procycling, January 2008, appeared December 2007
  4. ^ a b Interview in Rouleur, Guy Andrews, issue five, p. 26
  5. ^ "Cycle of abuse," Paul Kimmage, Sunday Times, July 1, 2007
  6. ^ "It's Not About the Bikes," Nathaniel Vinton, New York Daily News, 7 November 2009
  7. ^ Press release by Trek of April 8th, 2008 to immediately sever its relationship with Greg LeMond.
  8. ^ Treks short summary of the history of their relationship with Greg LeMond.
  9. ^ "Tour de France legend Greg LeMond, Trek Bicycle reach settlement," Nathaniel Vinton, New York Daily News, 1 February 2010
  10. ^ CNNSI.com - Cycling - Armstrong surprised, upset by LeMond's comments - Thursday August 2, 2001 10:55 PM
  11. ^ www.cyclingnews.com news and analysis
  12. ^ Paging Doctor Ferrari
  13. ^ www.cyclingnews.com news and analysis
  14. ^ issue refuses to go away due to winner's Ferrari links
  15. ^ LeMond clarifies Armstrong criticisms
  16. ^ LeMond questions Armstrong's associations
  17. ^ Reporter denies Lance's allegations
  18. ^ Interview in Roleur, Guy Andrews, issue five, p. 26
  19. ^ a b c d Greg LeMond's steals focus in hearing on Floyd Landis
  20. ^ Courageous Words
  21. ^ Courtroom twists muffle Landis' doping denials
  22. ^ Landis asked about wardrobe
  23. ^ Killion: Landis sees peril in going public
  24. ^ Landis' testimony centers on fired manager
  25. ^ Landis spins wheels in court test
  26. ^ Trust But Verify
  27. ^ Cycle of Abuse
  28. ^ 1in6.org
  29. ^ Alberto, prove to me that we can believe in you
  30. ^ Texastailwind VO2 max testing
  31. ^ Contador's Climbing Credibility Questioned | Cyclingnews.com
  32. ^ Greg LeMond profile at Cycling Archives

External links


Simple English

Gregory James "Greg" LeMond (born June 26, 1961 in California) is an American cyclist who raced as a professional from 1981 to 1994.

He became the first American to win the Tour de France in 1986. In 1987 he was injured in a shooting accident, and could not race again until 1989, when he won the Tour de France again. He beat the French cyclist Laurent Fignon in an individual time trial using aero bars, which made him more aerodynamic (able to move through air easily). He won the Tour de France again in 1990. He now runs a bicycle company, and works to help people who are victims of sexual abuse.

Major achievements and accolades

1979
UCI Road World Championships U23 Road Race
1980
Member, United States Olympic Cycling Team
1981 – Renault-Elf-Gitane

First year as a professional.

Coors Classic (1st overall; 2 stage wins)
Tour of Oise (1 stage win)
1982 – Renault-Elf-Gitane
Tour de l'Avenir (1st overall; 3 stage wins)
UCI Road World Championships Road Race (2nd-Silver Medal)
Tour Méditerranéen (2nd overall)
Giro di Lombardia (2nd)
Grand Prix des Nations (2nd)
1983 – Renault-Elf-Gitane
UCI Road World Championships Road Race (1st - Gold Medal)
Dauphiné Libéré (1st overall; 3 stage wins)
Tour Méditerranéen (Stage 1 win)
1984 – Renault
Tour de France (3rd overall; 1st young rider, 1st Stage 3 Team Time Trial)
Liège-Bastogne-Liège (3rd)
Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (3rd overall; Stage 7b win)
Tirreno-Adriatico (5th overall)
1985 – La Vie Claire
UCI Road World Championships Road Race (2nd - Silver Medal)
Coors Classic (1st overall; Stage 5 win)
Tour de France (2nd overall; 2nd points; 1st Stage 21 ITT)
Giro d'Italia (3rd overall)
Vuelta al País Vasco (2nd overall)
Paris-Roubaix (4th)
Omloop Het Volk (4th)
1986 – La Vie Claire
Tour de France (1st overall; Stage 13 win; 7 days in maillot jaune)
Giro d'Italia (4th overall; Stage 5 win)
Milan-Sanremo (2nd)
Coors Classic (2nd overall; Stage 5 win)
Tour de Suisse (3rd overall; 1st points classification)
Paris-Nice (3rd overall)
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (6th overall; Stage 4 win)
1988
Tour of the Americas (2nd overall)
1989
Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year
ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year
UCI Road World Championships Road Race (1st - Gold Medal)
Tour de France (1st overall; Stage 5 ITT win; Stage 19 win; Stage 21 Champs-Élysées ITT; 7 days in maillot jaune)
Tour of the Americas (3rd overall)
Giro d'Italia (39th overall)
1990 – Z
ABC's Wide World of Sports Athlete of the Year
Tour de France (1st overall; 2 days in maillot jaune)
Züri-Metzgete (2nd)
UCI Road World Championships Road Race (4th)
Giro d'Italia (105th overall)
1991 – Z
World's Most Outstanding Athlete Award, Jesse Owens International Trophy
Tour de France (7th overall; 6 days in maillot jaune)
Tour DuPont (12th overall)
1992 – Z
USA Cycling's Korbel Lifetime Achievement Award
Tour DuPont (1st overall; Prologue (ITT))
1996
Inductee, United States Bicycling Hall of Fame
1999
Fox Sports Network's "50 Greatest Athletes of the Century"
2006
International Cycling Center's "Lifetime Achievement Award" winner

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