By the time the 1990 Tour de France rolled around, cycling legend Greg LeMond was just coming off a difficult few years out of the sport. In 1987, whilst on a turkey-hunting trip with his family back home, mistaken for the prey, Lemond was shot at blindly through the bushes, suffering a damaged lung and being hit with a total of 60 shotgun pellets. Miraculously, he escaped death by luck of a rescue helicopter in the area. He was 20 minutes away from bleeding to death.
After a few follow-up surgeries and some stop-starts in the season, Greg LeMond decided to take some time off and make a comeback the following year. In 1988 he restarted training with the Dutch team PDM, only to suffer over-training in the form of an injury to his right shin. Tensions arose in the PDM camp when LeMond discovered the doping that was going on there, being strongly against this, LeMond left the team and went on to join Belgian team ADR.
At the 1989 Tour de France, LeMond was less than an underdog, he was a former champion with absolutely no pressure or expectations resting on his shoulders. This relaxed attitude from the crowd allowed Greg to sit out from the spotlight, and concentrate on working hard and getting his head down. Frenchman Laurent Fignon looked to be the favourite, leaving Lemond burnt out on the Climbs. This all changed however, when a time trial from Versailles to the Champs-Élysées came up, which saw LeMond pull out his secret weapon and take the lead.
It was said that Fignon was in complete shock at the end, and this reaction was only echoed by everyone else the world over. LeMond was back on top, and he’d earned it the hard way.