THREE WEEK WONDER
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.