Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Greg Lemond's Amazing Time Trial To Win The 1989 Tour de France


Greg Lemond and his 1989 Tour de France winning Time Trial Bike

Greg Lemond rode the time trial of his life during the final stage of the 1989 Tour de France. Going into the final stage he trailed the race leader by 50 seconds. Before the final stage began he had already been congratulated for finishing the Tour in second place. No one thought that he would be able to gain enough time in the 24.5 km (15.223 miles) time trial from Versailles to Paris to win.

Lemond had done the work to prepare his bike for the race against the clock. He had done wind-tunnel testing and perfected his riding position. He used an aerodynamic helmet, in a time when most racers didn't ever wear a helmet, and he used the then controversial aero handlebars. Lemond also rode an aerodynamic bike that had a disc rear wheel.

He pushed a gear of 54 x 12 to a Tour de France time trial record average speed of 54.545 kmh (approximately 34 mph)!  Some calculations have suggested he was producing around 513 watts. Lemond's time trial was the fastest of the day and he was 58 seconds faster than Laurent Fignon. This gave Greg Lemond his second win in the Tour de France by the closest margin ever in the race. 

The final 1989 Tour de France General Classification:
1. Greg Lemond (ADR-Agrigel): 87 hours, 38 minutes, 35 seconds
2. Laurnet Fignon (Super U) @ 8 seconds
3.Pedro Delgado (Reynolds) @ 3 minutes, 34 seconds
4. Gert-Jan Theunisse (PDM) @ 7 minutes, 30 seconds
5. Marino Legarreta (Patemina) @ 9 minutes, 39 seconds

Below is a video of his historic ride.

This video describes the development of early Aero Bars.

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