When we started “Greg LeMond Fans” we were thinking about sharing our experiences with the other fans by telling them stories, showing them our collection, trying to tell the world what Greg LeMond means to us. Some great ideas were born and one of them is a pilgrimage.
Well if you read the definition of a pilgrimage on Wikipedia you get this result:
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs. Many religions attach spiritual importance to particular places.
Maybe you get the feeling that we are some kind of a religion or strange brotherhood having very strange thoughts. We’re not, we’re just 3 nerds having the same out of control hobby. And we agreed on doing something together.
But, what about “our” pilgrimage? We decided to do something fun. A chance to meet each other in person with an activity related to Greg LeMond. Living in Belgium, France and Spain doesn’t make it easy to find a moment to meet. During one of our weekly chats we had a great idea. Why not going to a place where Greg wrote history in his professional cycling career and do the ride ourselves? We had a lot of options. Superbagnères, Luz Ardiden, Alpe d’Huez, … . But we choose to start easy. Let’s go to the Lac de Vassivière in France. Not in the higher mountains like the Alps or Pyrenees but still hilly enough to train hard for it.
That history was written in 1985 and 1990 during the Tour de France. Greg LeMond achieved his first stage win in the 45,5 km time trial of the Tour de France in 1985. Five years later he secured his 3rd Tour de France victory by beating Claudio Chiappucci in the last time trial of the race. Good enough to consider these facts as special to us.
In 1985 Hinault was the leader of the La Vie Claire team in the Tour de France. A very emotional Tour de France for Greg who believed he was deceived by his team. Read all about this in our article “La Vie PAS Claire” here on our blog. The time trial at the Lac de Vassivière was the last opportunity for the top 10 riders to get a stage win or gain some time in the general classification. One of them was Greg LeMond standing 2nd in the the General Classification at 1m59 from Hinault. Hinault was strong that day in his yellow jersey. But so was Greg. Time splits were promissing. Hinault and LeMond changed top positions during the whole race. But finally at the end Greg won by 5 seconds and became the first American stage winner in the Tour de France. A milestone in his career and the first big win since his World Champion title in 1983.
1990 was not that different. Just as 5 years before Greg stood 2nd in the General Classification but now he was favorite to win the Tour. He just had to beat Chiappucci by 5 seconds. Breukink was the winner of the day, but Greg, who did not win any stage during that Tour, finished 5th but took the yellow jersey from the Italian. Again a new milestone conceeding his 3rd and last Tour de France victory.
This is what makes this place so special to us so we decided to go there on our first pilgrimage. A long weekend with 3 Greg LeMond Fans riding on the same track as in 1985 and 1990.
It will be a 3 day journey. During those days we will do more than just ride the 47 km circuit. Being there will also be our first meeting together. Thierry and Nicolas allready met eachother in 2012 but didn’t met Albert yet.
Stories will be told during the moments on and off the bike while enjoying the environment. We will watch both stages on dvd while relaxing in the sofa. We will search special locations where famous pictures of Greg were taken and maybe try to do a remake of them.
The Lac de Vassivière is located in the Limousin region of France. 440 km from Paris (hometown of Nicolas), 780 km from Antwerp (hometown of Thierry) and 640 km from Lleida (hometown of Albert). We all will travel by car to our destination.
During the next months we will be training for this weekend. The circuit isn’t flat at all. Looking to the images of the Tour de France you can see riders suffering on the hilly roads. The profile also reveals the difficulty of the circuit.
So we need to prepare well for the trip since we are planning riding the circuit more than once and maybe ride our own individual time trial.
Take a look at our introduction video about the circuit of the Lac de Vassivière.
We will keep you up to date with our plans on our Facebook page and Twitter acount. June will soon be there.
Greg LeMond Fans – #LeMondFans