A very short stage with two climbs, cote du Laffrey, a second category climb:
The stage was a very nervous one with several attacks, including Pascal Richard , Ronan Pensec or Robert Millar and Laurent Biondi who is first in Laffrey, behind them the PDM team chased hardly.
But the crucial moment was waiting. Lucho Herrera attacked at the beginning of the climb leaving all the breakaway members , meanwhile Steven Rooks was setting a very big tempo, and Mottet suffered.
And the impossible happened, with 3 kilometers left to the summit, Fignon attacked and left the group , catching Herrera.
Only Theunisse, Lemond and Delgado reacted but that was not enough to join the French.
Delgado chased but Lemond did not help him and those moments of doubts let Fignon to open the gap.
Behind them a group with Rooks, Kelly, Alcala and Herrera was chasing.
At the summit, with 20 kilometres to go, Fignon was first with a gap of 15".
and the trio try to close the gap
But with 10 kilometrs to the finish line the advantage is 37" .
Unfortunately for the French, a second group including Lejarreta, Kelly or Rooks joined the trio with four kilometers to go, when the difference is 50". Fignon was now suffering, and with two kilometers to go the difference was a little slower.
Rooks was chasing very hard behind. Were the PDM riders looking for a Kelly win ?, who knew, the fact is that they were helping Lemond.
Delgado tried his las attempt but he was caught easily by the group.
With 1 kilometer to the finish line the gap was less than 42", but the win was sure for Fgnon, a great win in yellow, as he did in la Plagne or Crans Montana 5 years ago.
He crossed the line with 2h31'28"
24" behind Rooks, Theunisse,Lejarreta, Kelly and an exhausted Lemond............incredibly Delgado lost 9", his chances of winning the Tour had disappeared.
Was the Tour over ? not really, because there was another Alpine stage and the last time trial, however Fignon was now the only favourite, if he was fine, the Tour would be French four years later.
Rooks and Lejarreta were close to Mottet.
And the following day, was the typical day for breakaways
The leaders deserved a rest but in the slopes of the first climb the breakaway took form.
Fignon had a superb day and left the group for moments in the climb to Cucheron but he was not brave enough, due to the flat section after Chambery....................he would regret it.
Lemond tried the scape before the last climb and on the dangerous descent
But the group remained together.......till the streets of Chambery where they nearly crashed in a roundabout.
The gap with the pursuers was more than 2 minutes. One of them was going to win the stage, and Lemond was the quickest, and won his third stage:
The tour was over, but Lemond didn´t agree he and Fignon had congratulated each other at the end of the stage but lemond did´t surrender " if I have a good day in the time trial and he doesn´t, it can be possible......".
The main group arrived at Aix les Bains 2'11", but an unnoticed detail happened. In spite of preparing the sprint for Kelly ( in order to gain points for the green jersey), the PDM riders were surprised by a young Italian who finished first in the sprint, with a very easy ride, a promising star, Gianni Bugno.
The following day the win was for Giovanni Fidanza. Only one day to finsh the Tour and Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon were separated only by 50"................only one more day for the glory.........Fignon could join Bobet and Thijs, or Lemond would tie him.
Only this stage separated Fignon from a great double Giro - Tour ( with the background othe Chambery Worldchampion a month later.....could he perfomr like Roche in 1987 ? ):
It was Sunday, 23rd of July
The Champ Elysees were waitng for Delgado´s successor..........