THREE WEEK WON­DER

Procycling - - Retro -

Though the “Berriz Reed” re­mains syn­ony­mous with Basque cy­cling in gen­eral and San Se­bastián in par­tic­u­lar, he was also proli ic else­where. Though by his own ad­mis­sion no sprinter, he ac­cu­mu­lated 52 wins in a ca­reer span­ning 14 years. He won stages at all three grand tours, and never failed to in­ish ei­ther the Tour or the Giro.

It could be said that he wrote the blue­print for the likes of Adam Hansen. In in­ish­ing the three grand tours in 1987, Lejarreta raced 12,067km over 94 days. Hansen has made his name by rid­ing all three, sev­eral years run­ning. How­ever his irst triple, that of 2012, tells its own story. It was com­posed of “just” 10,359km, and they were spread over 127 days. What’s more, Hansen has never ig­ured in the top 50 on GC. He’s at lib­erty to pick and choose his stages, but not so Lejarreta. The Basque al­ways rode at least two of the three for GC.

His most con­sis­tent year was 1989, when he was 19th in the Vuelta, 10th in the Giro and ifth at the Tour. The best ever results over all three in a sin­gle sea­son were Raphaël Gémini­ani, who was third, fourth and sixth in 1955, then Ga­s­tone Nencini, ninth, irst and sixth in 1957. Lejarreta was third and ifth in the 1991 Vuelta and Giro, but fal­tered at the Tour, com­ing a tired 53rd. Though he achieved 15 top 10s in grand tours, he never did so in all three in a sea­son.

He was also a sur­pris­ingly con­sis­tent rider at the Giro, a race that rarely suited Spa­niards - he rode it seven times and was in the top 10 each time. His best at the Tour was ifth.

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