Greg LeMond became the first American ever to win a mountain stage in the Tour de France bicycle race Wednesday, but his French team leader, Bernard Hinault, kept the overall lead with another brilliant demonstration of power and tactics.
LeMond’s victory came in the Tour’s toughest single stage, over three major mountain passes in the Pyrenees, ending at the top of a fourth major climb.
LeMond was timed in 6 hours 6 minutes 37 seconds. Scotland’s Robert Millar was 1:12 behind. American Andrew Hampsten, in fifth place, was 2:20 in back of LeMond.
Hinault kept the overall lead by just 40 seconds ahead of LeMond, after beginning the stage with an advantage of 5 minutes 25 seconds. Hinault’s overall time was 57:47:45.
Hinault started the day with yet another surprise attack, following a long breakaway by France’s Dominique Arnoux, who led over the first two passes, the Toumalet and the Aspin. Hinault was the only rider to stay near him.
Hinault’s American team members, LeMond and Hampsten, took over the task of controlling the race, holding off favored mountain climbers such as Millar, Swiss Urs Zimmermann, Spain’s Pedro Delgado and the Colombians.