The Come­back

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - BOOKS & FILMS - writ­ten by Daniel de Visé pub­lished by Grove At­lantic

The come­back at the heart of Daniel de Visé’s bi­og­ra­phy of Greg Le­mond is the 1989 Tour de France. In 1986, Le­mond be­came the first Amer­i­can cy­clist to win the Tour. The fol­low­ing spring, he was hunt­ing turkey with his un­cle and brother-in-law. The brother-in-law, an in­ex­pe­ri­enced hunter, ac­ci­den­tally shot Le­mond with a shot­gun blast. Even if you’re fa­mil­iar with this story, de Visé’s ac­count is grip­ping as it de­tails how close the star cy­clist came to dy­ing that day. In 1989, Le­mond re­turned to the Tour and won, by eight sec­onds. He won the Tour again the fol­low­ing year. De Visé’s book is based on de­tailed re­search from many of his own in­ter­views as well as sec­ondary sources. He does an ex­cel­lent job of mak­ing all the ma­te­rial flow with his com­pelling prose. He delves into many of the chal­lenges Le­mond has faced, from child­hood sex­ual abuse by a fam­ily friend to es­trange­ment from his fa­ther.

Le­mond’s ca­reer saw the rise of car­bon-fi­bre bikes and epo, both of which he had to weather. The cy­clist worked with Craig Calfee, whose bikes bore the Le­mond name in the 1991 Tour. But Le­mond Bi­cy­cles was shut down af­ter mis­man­age­ment by Le­mond’s fa­ther and his brother-in­law. (Yes, the same one who fired the shot­gun.) In 2016, Le­mond be­gan work­ing with car­bon fi­bre once again with Le­mond Com­pos­ites.

epo started be­com­ing more com­mon in the bunch dur­ing Le­mond’s later years as a pro. Not long af­ter, some of the drug’s high-pro­file users – Lance Arm­strong and Floyd Lan­dis – worked to dis­place Le­mond from the cen­tre of U.S. cy­cling. With the fall of Arm­strong in 2012, Le­mond, his rep­u­ta­tion and his place in cy­cling all made a come­back.

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