Tour de France : In the Pyrenees, LeMond Remains in First Place
Greg LeMond of Minneapolis retained the lead in the Tour de France Monday after the first mountain stage of the 23-day cycling race.
He stuck to the leaders along a route that went up and down four mountains. The riders finished at an elevation of 4,330 feet along the French-Spanish frontier.
LeMond finished eighth in the stage, almost two minutes behind Miguel Indurain of Spain, who won the stage in 4 hours 32 minutes 36 seconds.
LeMond wasn’t concerned when Indurain went ahead.
“It wasn’t for me to ride behind Indurain,” he said. “He is more than seven minutes behind in the standings.”
LeMond was more concerned with how his body would hold up through the difficult mountain passes. At last month’s Tour of Italy, he faltered in the steep stages.
“Today’s stage shows that I am in better form than the Tour of Italy,” LeMond said. “I had a good day, reassuring for me. But that doesn’t say that the next stage is going to go as well. Now it is a problem of recuperation, for me and the others, too.”
LeMond tailed 1983 and 1984 winner Laurent Fignon of France, who finished seventh in the same time as LeMond and remained in second place overall, five seconds back.
Fignon, who many regarded as the favorite in this year’s race, thought LeMond was taking it easy by sticking close to him and not helping the other cyclists.
“It’s not for me to push, it’s for Laurent,” LeMond said. “I have to protect the lead I have on him.”
Last year’s winner, Pedro Delgado of Spain, finished third in Monday’s 91-mile course over four steep mountain climbs, but gained only 29 seconds on LeMond.
Sill, Delgado has made a charge through the standings after starting the race 10 days ago almost three minutes behind schedule.
He was last in the standings going into the first leg and lost another three minutes in the team time trial when he faltered.
Andy Hampsten of Boulder, Colo., was 14th, 2:28 back of Indurain, and lost half a minute to LeMond in the overall standings.
Today’s second stage in the Pyrenees is 82 miles from Cauterets to Luchon-Superbagneres.