___Race Snippets

 

77th Tour de France 1990

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Climb of Luz Ardiden is the Key to Victory

Defending champion Greg LeMond (USA) came to the 1990 Tour de France (TdF) with poor racing form.  LeMond, carrying too much body weight, skipped the early season classics and spent most of the spring preparing specifically his Tour defense. 

SPECIAL NOTE: The Tour organizers maintained the team selection process based upon rankings in the F.I.C.P. standings.  The first 16 teams in the standings were selected, with an additional 6 teams selected as “wild card” teams (18 teams and 4 wild cards in 1989). 

Major fireworks occurred on stage 1.  A group of four, Steve Bauer (Can), Frans Maassen (Ned), Ronan Pensec (Fra) (LeMond’s teammate), and relatively unknown Italian neo-pro Claudio Chiappucci, broke away early in the relatively short stage and built a massive lead on the apathetic race favorites.  Midway through the stage, the pace of the chase increased in the peloton.  Abruptly, protesters dragged trees across the road causing an abrupt stop of the peloton.  During the commotion the frantic peloton split scrambled to get passed the blocked road and continue the chase.  The breakaway group rode steadily throughout and completed the stage with a huge 10’35” advantage over the bewildered peloton.  The favorites faced the next three weeks looking for ways to slowly cut into the massive lead of the group of four.  The highest placed of the four, Steve Bauer (Can), took the race lead.

Providing no rest for the weary, the Tour’s next stage scheduled a 34 km ITT (hillclimb) from Fontaine to Villard de Lans.  Dutchman Erik Breukink grabbed a valuable stage win.  But the top story of the stage came from Claudio Chiappucci’s 8th place finish.  The Italian climber, a member of the stage 1 breakaway, outdistanced a tired Pensec by 2’45”.  The time gained put Chiappucci into the race lead and the first Italian Maillot Jaune in 15 years.

Stage 16 was a 215 km race from Blagnac to the finishing climb on Luz Ardiden.  The stage featured two brutal climbs, the Col d’Aspin and Col du Tourmalet, before the “HorsCategorie” (HC-beyond category) climb of Luz Ardiden.  This was the Tour’s entry into the legendary “Circle of Death”. 

The always aggressive Chiappucci generated a serious breakaway with 6 other riders on the first climb of the stage, the Col d’Aspin.  At the summit of the Aspin the Chiappucci group had only slim 30 second lead.  The contenders surprised by his suicide attack, let the Maillot Jaune ride away.  The Col du Tourmalet was next and the flying Italian’s hard pace began shedding riders from the breakaway.  The group was now three at the top of the second climb.  Chiappucci, Johan Bruyneel, and Marino Lejarreta had a three minute lead on the now nervous peloton.  A small chase group formed as the contenders began to close on the breakaway on the descent on the Tourmalet.  By the foot of the final climb to Luz Ardiden, Chiappucci’s gallant effort came to an end, 8 km from the goal.  The LeMond group caught the tiring Italian as the climb increased in steepness. 

LeMond knew his chance was now and set a hard pace with Miguel Indurain glued to his wheel.  One by one riders fell off the lead duo’s pace.  Around the final bend Indurain showed his talent and pull away from the American for the stage win.  LeMond crossed the finish line and the time began to count.  Slowly the clock ticked past 2 minutes as Chiappucci appeared at the finishing straight.  At 2’19”, he struggled across the finish line to save his Maillot Jaune by 5 seconds.  LeMond told reporters after the race, “If the Tour is won, it’s won today.”

Chiappucci’s 5 second lead vanished quickly during the 45 km ITT on stage 20.  The Italian did not have the time trialing power of LeMond.  He was no match for the powerful American, who surged to the overall lead.  LeMond rode into Paris on the last stage to claim his third grand Tour de France victory.

SPECIAL NOTE: With the 1990 TdF victory, Greg LeMond joined Firmir Lambot (Bel) 1922, Roger Walkowiak (Fra) 1956, Gastone Nencini (Ita) 1960, and Lucien Aimar (Fra) 1966 as champions, who won the Tour without gaining a stage win. 

SPECIAL NOTE: Given an extraordinary twist of history, Olaf Ludwig became the first and last East German to win a stage in the TdF.  The Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989 and East and West Germany were re-united after 45 years in 1990.

Stage and Distance

Stage Winner

Race Leader

Prologue FUTUROSCOPE, 6.3 km ITT

Thierry Marie (Fra)

Thierry Marie (Fra)

Stage 1 FUTUROSCOPE-FUTUROSCOPE, 138 km

Frans Maassen (Ned)

Steve Bauer (Can)

Stage 3 POITIERS-NANTES, 233 km

Moreno Argentin (Ita)

Steve Bauer (Can)

Stage 4 NANTES-MONT ST MICHEL, 203 km

Johan Museeuw (Bel)

Steve Bauer (Can)

Stage 5 AVRANCHES-ROUEN, 301 km

Gerrit Solleveld (Ned)

Steve Bauer (Can)

Stage 6 SARREBOURG-VITTEL, 202 km

Jelle Nijdam (Ned)

Steve Bauer (Can)

Stage 7 VITTEL-EPINAL, 62 km

Raul Alcala (Mex)

Steve Bauer (Can)

Stage 8 EPINAL-BESANCON, 181 km

Olaf Ludwig (Ger)

Steve Bauer (Can)

Stage 9 BESANCON-GENEVA (Sui), 196 km

Massimo Ghirotto (Ita)

Steve Bauer (Can)

Stage 10 GENEVA (Sui)-ST GERVAIS/Mont Blanc, 118 km

Thierry Claveyrolat (Fra)

Ronan Pensec (Fra)

Stage 11 ST GERVAIS-ALPE D'HUEZ, 182 km

Gianni Bugno (Ita)

Ronan Pensec (Fra)

Stage 12 FONTAINE-VILLARD DE LANS, 34 ITT

Eric Breukink (Ned)

Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)

Stage 13 VILLARD DE LANS-ST ETIENNE, 149 km

Eduardo Chozas (Esp)

Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)

Stage 14 LE PUY EN VELAY-MILLAU/Causse noir, 205 km

Marino Lejarreta (Esp)

Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)

Stage 15 MILLAU-REVEL, 170 km

Charly Mottet (Fra)

Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)

Stage 16 BLAGNAC-LUZ ARDIDEN, 215 km

Miguel Indurain (Esp)

Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)

Stage 17 LOURDES-PAU, 150 km

Dimitri Konyshev (Urs)

Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)

Stage 18 PAU-BORDEAUX, 202 km

Gianni Bugno (Ita)

Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)

Stage 19 CASTILLON LA BATAILLE-LIMOGES, 182 km

Guido Bontempi (Ita)

Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)

Stage 20 LAC DE VASSIVIERE, 45 km ITT

Eric Breukink (Ned)

Greg LeMond (USA)

Stage 21 BRETIGNY-PARIS/Champs Elysees, 182 km

Johan Museeuw (Bel)

Greg LeMond (USA)

 

POLKA DOT JERSEY

PDJ Thierry Claveyrolat (Fra)

 

  GREEN POINT'S JERSEY

GJ Olaf Ludwig (Ger)

 

TdF June 30-July 22, 1990
3,403 Km

1. Greg LEMOND (USA) 90h43'20"

2. Claudio Chiappucci (Ita) +2'16"

3. Erik Breukink (Ned) +2'29"

Starters: 198
Finishers: 156
Average Speed: 37.518 km/h

 

 

Return to the Timeline ToC

Return to the Race Snippets ToC

 
       
         
         
   



All materials are property of CyclingRevealed and Copyright © 2012
unless otherwise noted

Advertising Information | Contact Us
-