It's actually the title of an article by Bill Lyon, published at the end of the Tour de France 1990, explaining that LeMond was never better than after having had to face strong adversity.
I must admit that I may have been over-optimistic in my last post with thinking that times were changing regarding internet posts about Greg LeMond. Though it's true he does get a lot more support than two or three years ago, you can still easily find here and there "LeMond is bitter" when reading about Trek vs. LeMond. I must also admit that it annoys the hell out of me, especially when a large number of these posts are starting with "The truth is, LeMond is just jealous..." But well, it comes from the same people who keep on reharshing: "Truth is, Armstrong never tested positive". Yep, if that's their kind of truth, LeMond's supposed bitterness is easy to disregard.
In his interview on Fora.tv to which I put a link a few weeks ago, Greg expressed that he was well aware of what was written about him on the internet. And I can't help but thinking that he must be incredibly strong mentally. I couldn't bare to read about myself half of whats' written about him... But this man seems so confident in his opinions, so sure that he is doing what is right, that he doesn't seem to really care what some people can think or say. For that, I truly admire him.
And since I find it a nice read, and a really good memory about Greg's career, I'll put the article here:
IF YOU WANT LEMOND TO WIN, TRY TO KILL HIM
Author: Bill Lyon Knight-Ridder News Service Edition: FINAL
With apologies to that incomparable aerialist Michael Jordan, to that geriatric bringer of heat Nolan Ryan, to that ubiquitous merchandiser of jockdom Bo Jackson, to that lord of the rinks Wayne Gretzky, but the best athlete in the world right now is . . . A skinny, scrawny shrimp with a cherubic face and a crooked smile who doesn't look as if he could be a threat at even, say, a brisk game of checkers.Ah, but hunched over the handlebars in that aerodynamic tuck position, legs as tireless and relentless as a metronome, he becomes something of a human bullet and brings a whole new dimension to, and appreciation of, the notion of human locomotion through pedal power.
In short, Gregory James LeMond is hell on wheels.
He won the Tour de France yesterday. It is the longest, biggest, richest, most important bicycle race in the world, and before LeMond came along, hardly anyone in the American sporting public was aware of it. But now he has won it three times, twice in a row, last year by all of eight seconds, thereby giving a whole new meaning to winning by a nose, this year with a glorious and gutsy and irresistible rush on the next-to-last day, on the very day that he called it, called his shot, and now it has reached the point that if he doesn't win it every year you are going to hear people who don't know spokes from sprockets bleating: "So what's wrong with LeMond and that Tour thing, anyhow?"
LeMond has done, imagine a youth from, say, Brazil, going to Canada and learning how to play hockey and then winning the Stanley Cup. Frequently. Only one other American had ever even entered a Tour de France before LeMond, who was a stranger in a strange land involved in a strange sport.
Now the French embrace him. He has won them over with his grit. They adore his boldness, how he metamorphoses from this inoffensive wisp into this single- minded fang-bared killer in the sport that so enflames their passion. And they love that he has taught himself their language, and it probably does not hurt that his name sounds French, although his ancestry is mostly Scotch- Irish, and that basically what he is, is a kid from Nevada who was nuts for skiing until one winter there came a drought and he was stuck biking and got hooked on that. He won the Tour this year breezing, laughing, on cruise control. Yet, as recently as 10 days before, he had floundered along in 35th place, an alarming 10 minutes in arrears of the leaders, there were ominous headlines. But then he has been grievously underestimated before.
It is not necessary to know anything about cycling to understand that Greg LeMond is long on gumption and perseverance. His whole life is a miracle of will. Soon after he became the first Yank to win the Tour, in 1986, he lay bleeding to death, gutted by a shotgun blast in a hunting accident. He lived, but then you knew that. Before winning his second Tour, he had to overcome an emergency appendectomy, tendinitis, a broken wrist and a serious leg infection. Before this year's Tour, he spent five weeks fighting a virus, and then had food poisoning for dessert.
It has become abundantly clear that the surest way to make Greg LeMond win is to try to kill him. He still carries an estimated 30 small lead pellets, No. 2 buckshot, inside his barbed-wire body. "The doctors said there's really no danger leaving them in," he once explained to a horrified interviewer. "Your body forms scar tissue." By now, his body has had a lot of practice. The race itself is a manufacturer of scar tissue, on both the psyche and the physique.
The Tour de France is a crusher of will, a destroyer of spirit and an agony of the body. This year's route covered 2,112 miles and yet the
average speed was more than 24 miles per hour. That's with a couple of fairly serious mountain ranges, the Alps and the Pyrenees. There were attacks and counterattacks, breakaways and switchbacks, impossibly steep climbs when a biker stands straight up and barely can keep up with a pedestrian, followed by terrifying descents at 70 miles per hour where the merest brushing of one wheel against another can trigger a crash that swallows 30 riders. As a matter of fact, LeMond Which, of course, meant he was a mortal lock.
Again. Of course you have to be a bit mad to climb onto the saddle to begin with, submitting yourself to more than 2,000 miles and three weeks of soul-searing excruciation. But to appreciate what Greg Winning on cruise control crashed this year. Got up bleeding, with the middle finger of his braking hand swollen and useless. That's the end of him, they said.
Which, of course, meant he was a mortal lock.