Greg LeMond (born June 26, 1961 in Lakewood, California) is a former professional road bicycle racer from the United States. In 1986, he became the first non-European cyclist to win the Tour de France. He won the Tour again in 1989 and 1990, becoming one of only eight cyclists to have won the Tour three or more times.
LeMond began racing professionally in 1981. With the help of Cyrille Guimard he joined the European peloton and won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Junior Worlds in 1979. He proved to be a forceful one-day rider with a 2nd place at the 1982 World Cycling Championship and the first American gold medal the following year. He soon began preparing for the more demanding grand tours.
In 1983 at age 22 LeMond became the first American to win the World Cycling Championship.
LeMond rode his first Tour de France in 1984 and finished third. 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 and was suffering from injuries sustained in a crash caused by other riders, 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 that Hinault was close behind him when in fact Hinault lagged LeMond by over three minutes.
A year later in 1986, Hinault and LeMond were co-leaders of the La Vie Claire team. By stage 12, Hinault had built up a five-minute lead over LeMond, but he cracked in the mountains the next day and soon LeMond was in the lead. Although the two riders crested the Alpe d'Huez together 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, who had publicly promised to help him win in 1986 in gratitude for LeMond's sacrifice in 1985.
Disaster struck LeMond while turkey hunting in California, April 20, 1987, when his brother-in-law accidentally discharged his shotgun, striking LeMond in the chest 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 some 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 then-novel aero bars, which gave him a significant aerodynamic advantage, to beat Fignon by 58 seconds to claim his second yellow jersey with a final victory margin of 8 seconds – the closest in the Tour's history. As LeMond danced in victory on the Champs-Élysées, Fignon sat and wept. Although he did not say so until several days later, Fignon had been suffering from saddle sores for several days and had barely been able to finish the previous day's stage. LeMond's comeback was confirmed by winning his second World Cycling Championship road race several weeks later. LeMond was named Sports Illustrated magazine's 1989 "Sportsman of the Year", the first cyclist ever to receive the honor.
LeMond won the Tour for the third time in 1990. That year he became one of the few cyclists to win the Tour without winning any of the individual stages.
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. He developed mitochondrial myopathy, possibly resulting from his 1987 wounding, and retired from professional cycling in December 1994.
In a 1997 interview, LeMond openly rued his lost opportunities, noting that 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."
Continuing to apply his cycling and fitness expertise, LeMond started several companies since his racing retirement, including LeMond Bicycles (now a division of Trek) and LeMond Fitness. He pursued auto racing briefly as a way to continue channeling his competitive drive, however after several seasons appears to have dropped that pursuit. He currently lives in Medina, Minnesota, USA.
In 2001, LeMond stirred up controversy, alleging that multiple-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong might be doping to improve his performance. In July 2004, after additional Tour de France wins by Armstrong, LeMond commented again, "If Armstrong's clean, it's the greatest comeback. And if he's not, then it's the greatest fraud." He also declared "Lance is ready to do anything to keep his secret. I don't know how he can continue to convince everybody of his innocence." to newspaper Le Monde
jealousy is a terrible thing isn't it?