Fignon appeared on French television Sunday - links below
20 years ago, Frenchman Laurent Fignon won the 1989 Giro d'Italia. He also won Milan-San Remo that year and became the number one ranked cyclist in the world. But as Fignon himself is quick to acknowledge, and despite winning the Tour in 1983 and 1984, he is most remembered for losing the 1989 Tour de France to American Greg LeMond by just 8 seconds.
What a great Tour that was! LeMond took the yellow jersey after the Stage 5 individual time trial. Fignon then took the jersey from LeMond after the Stage 10 climb to Superbagnères. LeMond got the jersey back after the Stage 15 mountain time trial.....only to lose it again to Fignon at Alpe d'Huez! The final stage of the race was a largely downhill 25km time trial from Versailles to Paris. Fignon's 50 seconds lead over LeMond was widely considered a large enough margin to ensure a third Tour victory for the Frenchman. But LeMond, using triathlon handlebars and an aerodynamic helmet, posted a time that was 58 seconds faster than Fignon, resulting in an 8-second dramatic victory after 3 weeks of racing.
Laurent Fignon, 48, announced last week that he has late-stage cancer of the digestive tract. Some reports in France have said there is "little hope" of Fignon beating this, reports that Fignon found upsetting particularly because his family saw them. Fignon appeared on French television yesterday to talk about his illness, about doping (he has admitted to using amphetamines and cortisone during his career, "like everyone else" he says), and his new book "Laurent Fignon: Nous étions jeunes et insouciants" ("We were young and carefree") which will be published on Wednesday. The book (cover pictured above) was completed before Fignon was diagnosed with cancer, so contains no mention of his illness.
Today, the French professional cyclists union (UNCP) expressed its support, encouragement and best wishes to Laurent as he battles his illness. cyclingfans.com would also like to wish Laurent the best in this difficult time.
On a personal note, I became hooked on this sport when just 10 days after moving to France in July, 1989, I turned on French TV on a Sunday with nothing better to do and watched the final minutes of the '89 race unfold as first LeMond, then Fignon, rode onto the Champs-Elysees. My introduction to this sport, literally, was what I witnessed live on TV that afternoon. It was a great victory by LeMond...but Fignon helped to make it great. Since, I've followed Fignon's career as a race organizer and TV broadcaster. When I read former ASO cycling director and French cycling federation president Daniel Baal's description, in one of his books, of ASO's negotiations to acquire Paris-Nice from Fignon a few years ago -- Fignon stormed out of a meeting with ASO officials in a cafe near the Gare du Nord train station in Paris, temporarily breaking off negotiations -- I could only smile. As Greg LeMond and ASO both found, you don't take anything from Laurent Fignon easily. Let's hope that Fignon's cancer discovers that as well, gets defeated, and that Laurent Fignon is around for many years to come. -Pete Geyer, Editor
Laurent Fignon on French TV (France 2) Sunday
Laurent Fignon on French TV (TF1)
- Tour de Luxembourg: Watch Stage 3 video highlights here. (05:22) -Bernie S.
- Tour de Luxembourg Stage 3 info and links, including live ticker, below.
- LIVE now: Tour de Luxembourg Stage 3 live ticker. Link below.
- D-Day Remembrance ceremony has ended.
- LIVE now: D-Day remembrance ceremony live stream on CNN.
- LIVE now: D-Day ceremonies in Normandy, live stream from "Omaha Beach" on France 2 live stream.
- More Tour de Cycling - Saturday to come...
- Coming later today: A first look at Dauphine Libere live online coverage options.
Dauphiné Libéré LIVE coverage at www.cyclingfans.com
photo Copyright © 2009 Pete Geyer/www.cyclingfans.com
Today is the 65th anniversary of the Normandy Landings (D-Day)
I spent 15 summers on these beaches from 1990 and would like to observe the anniversary in this space. -Pete
Arromanches, Normandy, known as "Gold Beach" during the D-Day landings
and a site used by British troops in the Allied invasion. A temporary harbor
was built here after the landings to assist in the operation; sections of that harbor
remain in place today.
photo Copyright © 2009 Pete Geyer/www.cyclingfans.com
The Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer. 9,387 American military dead
are buried here. The cemetery overlooks "Omaha Beach" where many of these
soldiers were killed. The graves face westward, towards the United States.
photo Copyright © 2009 Pete Geyer/www.cyclingfans.com
Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, Normandy. This town was part of "Sword Beach"
during the Allied invasion.
photo Copyright © 2008 Pete Geyer/www.cyclingfans.com
2009 Tour de Luxembourg Stage 2 video
Highlights from Stage 2 here. (04:51) -Bernie S.
- Tour de Luxembourg Stage 3 departs Wiltz at 12:30 CET (6:30am U.S. Eastern) and is expected in Diekirch between 16:52 and 17:32 CET (10:52am and 11:32am U.S. Eastern).
- Breaking news: Astana team manager Johan Bruyneel says that the sponsor financial problems have not been solved and that the team will continue to protest with sponsor names faded on jerseys. More here.
- Tour de Luxembourg: As in years past, there is a daily highlights program scheduled on TV at 19:50 CET (1:50pm U.S. Eastern). So a video feed may be playing here. Note that this feed quickly becomes overwhelmed. More links below.
- More Tour de Cycling - Friday to come...
- Tour de Luxembourg Stage 2 is underway. Links below, including live ticker. No live video for this race.
- Lance Armstrong and Anna Hansen are the proud parents of a baby boy, Max. More here.
- Today's French sports daily L'Equipe is reporting that the Astana team has pre-selected Andreas Kloden for the Tour de France. An investigation into doping practices on the T-Mobile team in 2006 has not implicated Kloden according to Astana team spokeman Philippe Maertens.
New book: Graham Watson's Tour de France Travel Guide
- Graham Watson's Tour de France Travel Guide: The Complete Insider's Guide to the Tour! is now available for purchase. Watson has followed and photographed the Tour for 31 years. In this book, he shares his tips on where to eat and sleep and where to watch and photograph the race yourself. The book is richly illustrated with Watson's photographs, maps and more.
- Tour de Luxembourg Stage 2 departs Schifflange at 12:30 CET (6:30am U.S. Eastern) and is expected in Differdange between 16:40 and 17:31 CET (10:40am and 11:31am U.S. Eastern).
- More to come...
Le Sale Tour: Le systeme Armstrong
by Pierre Ballester and David Walsh
- You know the Tour de France is right around the corner when Pierre Ballester and David Walsh publish another book about Lance Armstrong. Obviously they didn't take the advice of esteemed International Herald Tribune reporter Sam Abt who suggested a couple of years ago it was perhaps time for them to "move on". Of course, Walsh and Ballester's favorite subject was in retirement then. He's back now and so are they. Fair enough, except that early indications are that the book, "Le Sale Tour" (or The Dirty Tour), published today, is filled with wild speculation about Armstrong's reasons for returning to the sport, including future political ambitions, to make money, etc. (Chicago Bulls basketball star Michael Jordan made more than $30 million in salary per year each of the last few years of his career, not including endorsements. Armstrong is not taking a salary for riding for Astana but naturally is able to command high appearance fees.) Ballester and Walsh also assert "(Tour de France organizer) ASO's new strategy is more turned towards business than the credibility of the sport". Huh? That has always been ASO's "strategy" and always will be for as long as they own the race.
Three years ago I asked Ballester, who once covered cycling, including Greg LeMond's comeback 20 years ago, for French sports daily L'Equipe, if he was a cycling fan. He said no, his sport is rugby. Funny, a former French rugby player last year stated that dope testing is virtually non-existent in the sport. No wonder Ballester (and Walsh for that matter) likes rugby. It is "clean" because no one is out to bust it. Meanwhile, for over 10 years pro cycling, an easy target, is repeatedly targeted at every opportunity.
Will it ever end? Not as long as there is money to be made tearing down the sport.
- We mentioned yesterday that Astana was cleared to ride the Dauphine Libere (June 7-14). That information is confirmed in today's edition of the French sports daily L'Equipe.
- Tour of Luxembourg info and links below.
June, 2009 issue of Velo Magazine (French): Le Guide du Tour.
Velo Magazine appears to be the first 2009 Tour de France guide
out of the gate; many more to come.
Meet Ed Buchette, Tour de Luxembourg organiser and forester!
Flashback: 2003 Tour de Luxembourg: Ed Buchette interviews
Benoit Joachim (Luxembourg national team and USPS) before the start of Stage 1.
Copyright © 2009 Pete Geyer/www.cyclingfans.com
When it comes to race organizers, the names Jean-Marie Leblanc (former director of the Tour de France), Christian Prudhomme (current TDF director), Angelo Zomegnan (Giro d'Italia), Victor Cordero (Vuelta a Espana) and Thierry Cazeneuve (Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré) come to mind. In Luxembourg, no one is more involved in the organization and other aspects of bike racing than Ed Buchette (photo above). Buchette's résumé is impressive: in addition to his involvement with the Tour of Luxembourg and related races (including the Grand Prix General Patton) as General Secretary of the Association des Organisateurs du Tour de Luxembourg, he is Vice-president, along with Zomegnan, of the Association des Organisateurs des Courses Cyclistes (AIOCC) (Prudhomme is president), member (since 2000) of the UCI Road Commission, General Secretary of the Luxembourg cycling federation, and an international commissaire for the UCI. Buchette is also a government forester since 1979 and since 1998 has been in charge of forests for the city of Luxembourg.
Buchette also appears to be the only organizer mentioned above who is on Twitter. -Pete
Today is the Tour de Luxembourg Stage 1 from Luxembourg to Mondorf. The stage is scheduled to begin at 13:00 CET (7am U.S. Eastern) and finish between 16:35 and 17:18 CET (10:35am and 11:18am U.S. Eastern).
- Astana cleared to continue racing: As we noted on Twitter an hour ago, the UCI has for now cleared Astana to continue racing. They are racing the Tour de Luxembourg, now underway, and look set to race the Dauphine Libere which starts Sunday. Beyond that, things are not clear at this point. More on this story here. (AP)
- Tour de Luxembourg: As in years past, there is a daily highlights program scheduled on TV at 19:50 CET (1:50pm U.S. Eastern). So a video feed may be playing here. Note that this feed quickly becomes overwhelmed. We do not know what if any coverage there will be for today's prologue since the race is taking place during the scheduled highlights show.
- More Tour de Cycling - Wednesday to come...
Tour de Luxembourg
photos Copyright © Pete Geyer/www.cyclingfans.com
Flashback: 2003 Tour de Luxembourg, Stage 1: "Baker boy" Thomas Voeckler, left,
glanced at breakaway companion Piotr Wadecki and then blasted up the short climb
to the finish for the stage win in the city of Luxembourg. Voeckler went on to win the overall
but it wasn't until the following year at the 2004 Tour de France that Voeckler would become
a name known around the world when he wore and defended the yellow jersey for 10 days.
Copyright © Pete Geyer/www.cyclingfans.com
- The Skoda Tour de Luxembourg starts today and runs through June 7. We do not believe there to be any live television coverage but highlights may be available. More info to come on that.
The Tour of Luxembourg is the national Tour of the Schleck brothers, Frank and Andy. They will be joined on the start line by riders including Stuart O'Grady, Maxim Iglinskiy, Andreas Kloden, Ruben Perez, Danilo Napolitano, Romain Feillu, Robert Hunter, Koen de Kort, and Baden Cooke.
Today's stage is a short 2.7km evening prologue in the city of Luxembourg. According to the official website, the first rider will depart at 19:00 CET (1pm U.S. Eastern) and the last rider (Andreas Kloden) will depart at 21:00 CET (3pm U.S. Eastern). The full start order and start times here (.pdf)