Biking great Laurent Fignon passed away from cancer today.
Fignon was a two-time Tour de France winner, taking back-to-back yellow jerseys in 1983 and 1984; he could have easily won a third, losing to Greg LeMond in one of the most memorable races in Tour history.
In 1989, LeMond was attempting to make a comeback after a nearly fatal hunting accident, racing with 37 shotgun pellets in his body — including two in the lining of his heart. Fignon held a seemingly insurmountable 50-second lead heading into a final individual time trial; yet LeMond used an early aero bar to finish improbable 58 ahead of Fignon, winning the tour by the closest margin in TdF history.
BikeRadar quotes LeMond honoring Fignon as a great champion.
“It’s a really sad day. I see him as one of the great riders who was hampered by injuries. He had a very, very big talent — much more than anyone recognized,” LeMond told France 24 television.
“We were also team-mates, competitors, but also friends. When he lost the Tour de France in 1989 it was one of the few where I felt we both won,” said the three-time Tour de France champion.
“The saddest thing for me is that for the rest of his career he said he won two Tours de France, when in reality we both could have won that race.”
Lance Armstrong honored Fignon, the winner of 76 races over his career, as a “dear friend and a legendary cyclist,” and goes on to add “We will miss you. RIP LF.”
Fignon admitted to doping during his career, but did not know if they may have contributed to his illness.
He was just 50-years old.
Philippe Gilbert wins stage three of the Vuelta to claim the leader’s jersey; Joaquin Rodriguez moves to second as riders struggle with the heat of Andalucia. Temperatures cool slightly in stage four, as Igor Anton wins Spain’s first home-field stage victory and moves into second overall.
Thor Hushvold is the first of the former Cervelo riders to move to the new Garmin-Cervelo team.
Join the LACBC and get a free ticket to the Bicycle Film Festival. Gary offers a schedule of upcoming meetings about the Agensys bike path debate in Santa Monica; the first one is tomorrow night. The newly revitalized Streetsblog looks at the issue of bikes — folding and otherwise — on Metro trains. Ten places of worship along the CicLAvia route; identify the 10 11 mystery photos along the route and win CicLAvia T-shirt. An Examiner writer tells drivers we don’t block traffic, we’re part of it; thanks to @LosAngelesCM for the link. Giovanni Ribisi bikes on PCH in Malibu; I wonder if he jumped the lights? Someone steals a teenager’s bike while he’s trying to pawn a stolen violin. A frightening encounter with a knife-wielding man points out another risk riders face on the streets. A Chicago cyclist is killed riding the wrong way on a busy expressway where bikes aren’t allowed. Kailua HI begins the islands’ first year-round bike share. In an apparent repeat of the New York Critical Mass incident, a Boston CM rider is knocked off his bike by a cop, but may not pursue charges. Portland police offer insights on why stronger charges aren’t filed in some cases. A driver charged in a DC-area vehicular assault case is allowed to leave town and enroll in college, then charges are dismissed because authorities seemingly can’t find her. A Denton TX cyclist is intentionally assaulted by a hit-and-run driver. A Brit rider says she wouldn’t mind being a podium girl, as long as she gets a hot guy to kiss when she wins — and her sport gets the attention it deserves. Is a new congestion-free ad campaign to promote London cycling worth the £441,000 ($679,400) it cost? Seven mistakes cyclists make while riding. BikeRadar offers advice on the importance of avoiding skin cancer, something I can attest to.
Finally, a Colorado man faces trial for attacking a group of riders with a baseball bat; the driver claims self-defense, claiming one of the cyclists threw a bicycle at his car. Yeah, we cyclists are so crazy that we often get off our expensive bikes and heave them unprovoked at passing motorists.
Thinking more on this: Doping in the 80s would have been cocaine, right? and probably some MJ as well? I don’t know the cancer risk of coke, but marijuana can substantially increase the risk of lung cancer.