In this video ESPN SportsCenter anchor Bob Ley provides highlights of the final day of the 1983 Tour du France….in which France’s Laurent Fignon would win his 1st of two in a row Tour du France road races.
Laurent Patrick Fignon (12 August 1960 – 31 August 2010) was a French professional road bicycle racer who won the Tour de France in 1983 and 1984….and the Giro d’Italia in 1989….as he nearly captured the Tour de France for a third time in 1989 before being edged by Greg LeMond by 8 seconds….which was the closest margin ever to decide the Tour. Fignon won many classic races….including taking Milan–San Remo back-to-back in 1988 and 1989…..and sadly died from cancer in 2010 at age 50.
In 1983, Fignon was a part of the team that helped Bernard Hinault to win the 1983 Vuelta a España…..as Guimard did not want to send Fignon to the Tour de France….for the reason that two grand tours could be too much for a 22-year-old rider…..but when Hinault, The Badger…..who was the winner of four of the five previous Tours announced that he would not start due to injury….that’s when the Renault team was without a leader…..so Fignon was added to the 1983 Tour de France selection for the Renault team….and the team decided to go for stage wins….with hopes of having Fignon or Marc Madiot compete for the best debutant category….when after stage nine, the first mountain stage, Fignon was in second place behind Pascal Simon….and he was allowed to be team leader. On the tenth stage, Simon crashed and broke his shoulder blade….but Simon continued….and only lost a little time on the next stages. On the fifteenth stage, a mountain time trial, Fignon was able to win back so much time that he was within one minute of Simon. On the seventeenth stage, Simon had to give up, and Fignon became the new leader. On the next stages, Fignon was able to answer all attacks from his opponents….as he even won the time trial on the 21st stage…..so, at 22 years old, Fignon was the youngest man to win the Tour since 1933. Fignon later said that he was lucky to have won the 1983 Tour….cuz if Hinault had been present….Fignon would have helped him, as Hinault was the team leader.