LeMond: “I would have beaten Hinault.”

American hopeful Greg LeMond is disheartened.

When asked about the significance of losing 44 seconds to Hinault, LeMond acknowledges that Hinault expected this stage to determine La Vie Claire’s team captain.

“I had a puncture and I broke a wheel,” says LeMond now of the time trial, “so I lost the time trial by 44 seconds, which I would not have lost had those two things not happened. But in Hinault’s mind . . . I mean, I would have said to his face, ‘You wouldn’t have beaten me if I hadn’t had the flat and broken the wheel; I would have won the time trial.’ But it didn’t matter to him. To him all that mattered was ‘I won the time trial.’”

And it confirmed LeMond’s suspicion that, in Hinault’s mind, the time trial had decided who should be the team’s designated leader.

“But he made that rule himself!” protests LeMond. “I didn’t agree to anything. I didn’t race like that. He, in his mind, was the leader. But in my mind . . . I was clear that—”

LeMond’s wife Kathy interrupted, “The whole winter, the whole spring, Hinault had been clear. He said he’d support Greg.”

This coverage of the 1986 Tour de France was adapted from Richard Moore’s new book Slaying the Badger. For more on cycling’s most extraordinary rivalry and the greatest ever Tour de France, please find the book in your local bookstore, bike shop, or online.Slaying the Badger U.S. edition final cover

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