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EXCERPT | July 31, 1989
Greg LeMond rallied to win his second Tour de France
Wounded in a hunting accident in 1987, the year after he became the first American to win the Tour, the 28-year-old LeMond was not expected to contend for a victory. Franz Lidz reported for SI.
In a revolutionary finish in France's bicentennial year, Greg LeMond of Wayzata, Minn., stormed into Paris on Sunday afternoon and snatched the Tour de France from the French pretender. From the start of the final day's 27-km time trial in Versailles, LeMond had approached the French capital like a lone soldier on a heroic mission. His goal: to make up the 50 seconds that separated him from the Tour's leader, Laurent Fignon of Paris, and then some.
Hunched tightly over his handlebars, his helmeted head lowered into an aerodynamically efficient position, LeMond rode all out, all the way, gaining precious seconds with each kilometer. So totally was he within himself that he had asked his support crew not to give him his splits during this final leg; he didn't want anything to break his concentration. He also didn't want to hear about the progress of the man he was chasing. LeMond would simply push himself to the limit.
No one doubted that LeMond could win the so-called "race of truth" from Versailles to the Tuileries; he has become a master of time trials. But few thought he could make up enough time on Fignon to win the Tour.
"De l'audace, LeMond, de l'audace!" yelled the Parisian rabble, and boldly, boldly, he shot down the same path that Louis XVI took in 1789. Unlike Louis, he kept his head.
LeMond's eight-second winning margin is still the closest in the race's history. SI's Sportsman of the Year in '89, he won his last Tour the next year.
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Hanging with Chad
This week SI.com puts Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco on the hot seat as he sounds off on a myriad of topics including why Cincinnati gets no respect, his plans to join the Miami Heat's Big Three if there is an NFL lockout in 2011, and what he is looking for in a woman. You can also get the latest news, analysis and insight every day on all of your favorite sports with SI Video's Inside Report, hosted by Maggie Gray, and watch up to 70 more videos each week, including reports from the final stages of the Tour de France and interviews from TheDan Patrick Show.
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Danny Sullivan did a complete 360 but miraculously stayed on track to take the checkered flag over Mario Andretti in a wild Indy 500 that's known as the Spin and Win.
Photograph by AFP/GETTY IMAGES
ROAD MASTER On the final leg to Paris, LeMond was so intent on staying focused that he directed his support team not to give him time or position updates.
RICH CLARKSON (RYUN)
HEINZ KLUETMEIER (AFFIRMED, SULLIVAN)
HEINZ KLUETMEIER (OCHOCINCO)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (SPOELSTRA)
GEOFF BURKE/US PRESSWIRE (CARROLL)
FRED VUICH (OOSTHUIZEN)
TOM DIPACE (STEINBRENNER)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (OWENS)
CHRISTA L THOMAS/ASP/CAL SPORT MEDIA (EDWARDS)