1980sHighlightsInterviewsJohn TeshTour de France

Cycling – 1986 – Tour De France – Special – Comparison Of Lifestyle – Bernard Hinault To Greg Lemond

Greg LeMond grew up living an active, outdoor life. ….as hiking, hunting, skiing and fly fishing were boyhood pastimes…..where the ranch country of the Sierra Nevada mountain range lent itself to such pursuits.  A hyperactive youngster, LeMond believes these outdoor activities helped keep him out of trouble…..“I was a boy who just could not sit still. I had trouble focusing in school. Parents and educators then did not have the skill set to diagnose and cope with what we know now was a classic case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ADHD certainly was not the frequently medicated childhood disease it is today. My triumph over the symptoms was found atop two thin tires over many dusty miles.”  Said LeMond….”That’s one of the traits. It’s the inability to sit down [and listen] to something you are not really interested in and absorb it. If they are interested in it, people with ADD excel in really good ways. When I got into cycling I would say the sport itself took a fog off my brain. I was able to absorb stuff I read. It changed my life.”  

LeMond is a longtime vocal opponent of performance-enhancing drug use. He first spoke on-record against doping in cycling after winning the 1989 Tour de France.  LeMond received intense criticism in 2001 when he publicly expressed doubts about the legitimacy of Lance Armstrong’s Tour success after learning of his relationship with Dr. Michele Ferrari.  His outspokenness placed him in the center of the anti-doping controversy.  LeMond has consistently questioned the relationship between riders and unethical sports doctors like Ferrari…. and has pointed out that doping products ultimately victimize the professional cyclists who make use of them.  Said LeMond: “When I speak out about doping people could translate it and think it was about the riders. Actually I feel like I am an advocate for the riders. I look at them as being treated like lab rats that are test vehicles for the doctors. The doctors, the management, the officials, they’re the ones that have corrupted riders. The riders are the only ones that pay the price.”

Bernard Hinault never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during his professional career…. and neither was he implicated in any doping practices…..however, he did lead a riders’ protest during a criterium race in Callac in 1982 against the sudden introduction of doping controls. He was handed a one-month suspended ban and fined….although the penalty was never enforced.

Hinault has been outspoken about several prominent doping cases in the past years. In 2013, he heavily criticized French senators for revealing the results of tests conducted in 2004 on samples from the 1998 Tour de France….as he called the initiative “bullshit” and urged lawmakers “to stop bringing out the dead”….and claiming they “want to kill the Tour”…..when in the same year, he reacted to comments made by Lance Armstrong, a rider stripped of seven Tour victories due to doping offenses…..as Armstrong suggested that it would be impossible to win the Tour de France without performance enhancing substances. To counter this claim, Hinault replied….“He must not know what it was like to ride without doping.”….to which Armstrong later clarified that he had spoken about the time when he was riding from 1999 to 2005.

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