jueves, 25 de octubre de 2012

ALPE D´DUEZ 1986. Part III.

After Superbagneres, there were two transition stages and then, the stage from Nimes to Gap, the gate to the Alps. A 247 km stage.

Lemond was scared about suffering a sabotage and was keeping his bike in his own room, and to complete the sequence, Hinault attacked with Zimmermann in the way to Gap and Lemond was again distracted. Lemond who had earned some seconds in a bonus sprint, had to speak with Millar to chase the break.........of his own teammate. Finally the situation was controlled and the stage was for a breakaway of  another La Vie Claire man, Jean Francoise Bernard.

Bernard was lucky because the othe members of the breakaway sufferd mechanical incidents and dropped. The succesor of Hinault won his first stage in the Tour, Frech cycling was safe with Bernard.

Time for the Alps, two stages containing 6 big climbs. Vars, Izoard, Granon, Galibier, Croix de Fer and Alpe Dhuez. As it happened in the Pyrenees with Burdinkurutxeta, one of them was going to do its first appearance, in a great stage, including Vars and a myth like Izoard.........

Perfil iciclismo.it
It was the Col du Granon, a very steep climb, perhaps the most difficult one of the Tour

Perfil RoCoBike

The stage was difficult for the leader in the first mountain, due to knee problems. There was a solo break with the Spanish rider Eduardo Chozas with a huge margin over the group. Millar and Hinault suffered.

The col of  Vars was hard but when riders faced Izoard, the bunch exploded, and Hinault dropped ( was he going to quit?, was his knee so serious ?), Zimmermann noticed it was the moment and attacked, Lemond reacted and joined him. It was an important movement , Hinault was losing time and the steepest climb was to come.

Several questions were in the air, was Zimmermann going to drop Lemond on the Granon, was Lemond going to ride with the Swiss ?; was Hinault quitting ?, and what about the climbers ?. Delgado was well placed but Hampsten was suffering, Millar was struggling and Herrera was more than 7 minutes ahead.

In the last climb Zimmermann lead the pace with Lemond on his wheel.

Foto www.greglemondfan.com

They caught members of an intermediate break, Zimmermann was forcing but Lemond was resisting, the American  was just waiting for the finish, he knew he was going to be the new yellow jersey, and he had a good excuse in order not to cooperate because Hinault was his mate. On the other hand, Hinault was suffering three minutes ahead.

During the final kilometers Hinault recovered a little and kept the disadvantage close to three minutes, while the couple was a trio with the Colombian Cabrera.

Finally Chozas won the stage,a magnificent stage and Zimmermann was second 6'26" ahead of Chozas, Lemond third in the same time was now the leader, with Zimmermann second in the overall.

All the favourites lost time. Delgado finished 1 minute behind Lemond, Hampsten more than 2 minutes behind and finally Hinault with Millar 3'13" ahead. Hinault was now third overall 2'47" ahead of Lemond and 23" behind Zimmermann.
Lemond was the first American to wear the yellow, it was one the happiest days in his life.

The Tour had been decided and an injured Hinault was not sure to start the following stage.

Or that was what some people thought, not him, who spoke clear to his team, "we can´t let Zimmermann finish between Lemond and me".

So if Lemond had been worried about Hinault and had relaxed at the end of the stage, he now was again in trouble, Hinault seemed to be anxious to recover the position of Zimmermann, os was it an excuse to fight for the yellow jersey?.

So many questions, so many suppositions, but nothing compared with what we were going to live.

Breath deep, pay attention and enjoy one of the most incredible stages in the History of cycling,

Briancon - Alpe D´Huez, 162,5 km.

A relative short distance, for a great mountain stage. And the overall classification before the queen stage was

Overall classification:
1. Greg LeMond  81h24'12"

2. U.Zimmermann à 2'24"
3. Hinault à 2'47"
4. Millar à 6'19"
5. Delgado à 8'00"
6. Hampsten à 10'20"
7. Pensec à 15'04"
8. Criquielion à 15'33"
9. Ruttimann à 16'29"
10. Rooks à 17'11"
11. Herrera à 19'23"
12. Pino à 20'54"
13. Chozas à 21'50"
14. Cabrera à 21'54"
15. Bernard à 22'32"


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