La urent fignon
12 Aug 1960 – 31 Aug 2010 Fignon cut an unorthodox figure in the peloton and was outspoken right from the start of his career. As a first-year pro, when it was put to him Merckx had not taken him to his heart, he replied: “Merckx, you say? Don’t know him.”
In 1983, Fignon won the first Tour he entered, starting as Renault’s leader when Bernard Hinault was declared unfit. In 1984, Fignon headed to the Giro to challenge Francesco Moser. In pink on the last day he lost the jersey in the final TT, an experience he would of course have to endure again years later. Fignon blamed the mysterious dropping of the Stelvio from the race route (a climb that could have put him out of sight of Moser) and the close attention of the TV helicopter in front of him in the final TT, for his loss. On friendlier ground, he repeated his Tour win later that year.
Injury cruelly halted what was promising to be an age of Fignon dominance. He won his first Monument, Milano-Sanremo, in 1988 but it took until 1989 for him to recover his form in the grand tours when he finally claimed the Giro and only lost the Tour to Greg LeMond by eight seconds on the race’s most celebrated final day. Tour de France: 1983, 1984 Giro d’Italia: 1989 Milano-Sanremo: 1988, 1989 La Flèche Wallonne: 1986