In July 1986, Greg LeMond stunned the sporting world by becoming the first American to win the Tour de France, the world’s pre-eminent bicycle race, defeating French cycling legend Bernard Hinault. Nine months later, LeMond lay in a hospital bed, his life in peril after a hunting accident, his career as a bicycle racer seemingly over. And yet, barely two years after this crisis, LeMond mounted a comeback almost without parallel in professional sports. In summer 1989, he again won the Tour—arguably the world’s most grueling athletic contest—by the almost impossibly narrow margin of 8 seconds over another French legend, Laurent Fignon. It remains the closest Tour de France in history.
The Comeback chronicles the life of one of America’s greatest athletes, from his roots in Nevada and California to the heights of global fame, to a falling out with his own family and a calamitous confrontation with Lance Armstrong over allegations the latter was doping—a campaign LeMond would wage on principle for more than a decade before Armstrong was finally stripped of his own Tour titles. With the kind of narrative drive that propels books like Moneyball, and a fierce attention to detail, Daniel de Visé reveals the dramatic, ultra-competitive inner world of a sport rarely glimpsed up close, and builds a compelling case for LeMond as its great American hero.
|I was never a fan of bike racing but was a fan of the USA. When I first saw the name LeMond it was a small article in a local paper when he won his first Tour De France. Back then in the early 80’s usually, a show titled the Wide World of Sports would show just a portion of the last day. It was not until he won that I even paid attention to the sport of bike racing. The next time I heard his name was when he was shot by someone he went hunting with and was struck by multiple shotgun pellets. Then a few years later he would win the Tour again. The author takes you through all of these moments. He also begins with the sports bake at the turn of the century when cycling was all of the crazes and there was nothing but tournaments and competitions throughout the U.S. and the World. That is until the automobile came. He will give history on the two champions of that area, and the sport leading up to LeMond becoming the first American to win the Tour De France. He goes in the completion he had against some European riders also. Up to the point where Lance Armstrong begins his second go around in cycling and how after a few tours win begins to destroy LeMond’s and other people who spoke out that he was taking illegal drugs. You get to see the threats that were made and recorded, lawsuits filed and won by the LeMond family in court and how after Greg LeMond was torn down by the cycling World and in this country he was slowly coming back. What always got me was how the press never made a big deal about him winning the first time, when it seems all they were looking for was something to put the U.S. on top. This was a good story and I am glad I was able to read this book. I received this book from Netgalley.com I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at www.1rad-readerreviews.com