November 3, 1989
No Mike, I don't want to ride with you losers>>>
How much $$$ is it worth to you?>>>

In 1989 Greg LeMond was the author of one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. On April 21, 1987, LeMond, the winner of the 1986 Tour de France, and the only American to ever do so, recovering from a broken thumb in the U.S., was accidentally shot in the chest and nearly killed by his brother-in-law while hunting. Months later, he had an emergency apendectomy, then tendonitis, then anemia, and by June 1989 he had being written off as a has-been, having finished more than an hour back in the Tour of Italy (second in prestige only to the Tour de France) behind winner, Frenchman Laurent Fignon. A month later, on the final stage of what most considered the best Tour de France ever, LeMond overcame a seemingly insurmountable deficit on the last day of the race, humiliating leader Fignon, a Parisian, and beating him by only eight seconds, the smallest margin in the 76-year history of the event. A month later he won the most prestigiuos one-day race, the World Championships in Chambery, France (again beating Fignon). Although pretty much ignored by the American Press (the Tour de France is the biggest annual sporting event in the world) LeMond was named Sports Illustrated's Athlete of the Year in 1989 (he also graced the cover three times).

Here's my offer, take it or leave it>>>

And then there is Showa Park, the same course I'd raced four months earlier in the Tour du Japon. The world's top professional cyclists were doing an exhibition race there on November 3rd. Present for the race were Fignon, Dutchman Stephen Rooks(2nd in '88 Tour de France), Canadian Steve Bauer, and Italian Gianni Bugno(twice World Champion, 2nd and 3rd in Tour de France). I contacted the promoters to get LeMond to come to Yokota and ride with Volvo, but apparently he wasn't even going to race, thinking the birth of his first daughter was more important...*sigh*.

I'll ride with Volvo if they sacrifice Pete as a burnt offering>>>

Andy, our buddy, in a breakaway.
We rode our bicycles to the park and American Andy Hampsten, Lemond's friend and teammate when Lemond won his first Tour in '86, finishing an outstanding 4th place in his very first Tour de France (and again in '92), top ten four times, winner of the most prestigious mountain stage of the Tour, L'Alpe D'Huez, the '88 Tour of Italy, and the Tour of Switzerland twice, was a very nice guy. He was the only rider who came over to talk to us (that's him in the 7-Eleven jersey).
The Japanese didn't notice Andy for ten minutes, and we had him all to ourselves. He even held J.T.'s daughter, Jocelyn, for some pictures. I was very impressed. I'm not even that nice.

We asked him to come to Yokota and ride with the team but he said he was going to hang out in Tokyo.

I can't hear la la hearing doesn't go that low...>>>

And that man with the blonde pony tail? That's Laurent Fignon, twice winner of the Tour de France, 2nd in '89, among other achievements. Pete, (a cycling friend of our team), annoyed because Fignon would not speak to us, began to yell "Eight Seconds!!!" at him. I looked the other way, praying Fignon wouldn't come over and kill Pete. It would have been bad press for the team.
In the lead, German Frans Maassen, and in second, Irishman Sean Kelly, who has won just about every race there is except the Tour de France (he was 3rd in the '89 World Championships).
The winner of this race was Italian Giovanni Fidanza, with Edwig Van Hooydonck second, and Swiss Tony Rominger (2nd in '93 Tour de France, winner of '94 Tour of Italy, world-hour record holder).
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Hey, I hear the winner gets to ride with Volvo on an American Air Force base...cooooool>>>