60 Facts About Laurent Fignon


Laurent Patrick Fignon was a French professional road bicycle racer who won the Tour de France in 1983 and 1984 and the Giro d'Italia in 1989.

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Laurent Fignon nearly captured the Tour de France for a third time in 1989 before being edged by Greg LeMond by 8 seconds, the closest margin ever to decide the Tour.

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Laurent Fignon's family moved to Tournan-en-Brie in 1963, where he lived until he left for Paris at age 23.

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Laurent Fignon's parents did not want him to race, and he raced without them knowing.

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Laurent Fignon won four more races in his first year, but only one in his second year.

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Laurent Fignon's parents allowed him to race, but still thought that he should study.

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Laurent Fignon entered the University of Villetaneuse, studying Structural and Materials Science.

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Laurent Fignon was not interested in his studies, and was an indifferent student.

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Laurent Fignon told his parents that he was leaving the university and would join the army at the end of the year to do his military service.

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Laurent Fignon was posted at the Bataillon de Joinville, known for its sporting reputation.

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In 1981, Laurent Fignon rode the Tour of Corsica which allowed amateur cyclists to ride along with professional riders.

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Laurent Fignon rode an early stage attempting to hold the wheel of Bernard Hinault, the top professional cyclist, and succeeded for much of the race.

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Laurent Fignon did win on tenth of April 1981 the second stage during Tour du Vaucluse.

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Laurent Fignon joined the team in 1982, along with longtime friend and fellow junior rider Pascal Jules.

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Laurent Fignon lost the lead in the next stage, but became Hinault's most trusted team mate in the mountains.

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In Paris–Tours, Laurent Fignon had escaped and made a break of 40 seconds, when his crank broke.

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In 1983, Laurent Fignon was a part of the team that helped Bernard Hinault to win the 1983 Vuelta a Espana.

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Laurent Fignon was added to the 1983 Tour de France selection for the Renault team, and the team decided to go for stage wins, with hopes of having Laurent Fignon or Marc Madiot compete for the best debutant category.

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Laurent Fignon later said that he was lucky to have won the 1983 Tour: if Hinault had been present Laurent Fignon would have helped him, as Hinault was the team leader.

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Laurent Fignon earned the nickname "The Professor", not only because of these glasses, but because he was one of the few cyclists who had passed his baccalaureat exams.

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Laurent Fignon stayed with the Renault team, and became team leader.

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The highest mountain stage, where Laurent Fignon could have extended his lead as the better climber, was cancelled by race organizers "due to bad weather".

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In one of the more outrageous actions of a major tour, on the final stage, an individual time trial, camera helicopters flew in front of Laurent Fignon, creating a headwind, and behind Moser, creating a tailwind.

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Laurent Fignon later said the experience made him tougher, and prepared him for the hardships to come.

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Hinault won the prologue, but Laurent Fignon won back time when his team won the team time trial in stage three.

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Laurent Fignon won three more stages, for a total of five that year, and won the Tour with a ten-minute margin.

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In 1986 Laurent Fignon won La Fleche Wallonne and he entered the 1986 Tour de France, but placed poorly in the first individual time trial and retired on stage 12 to Pau.

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Laurent Fignon returned to near his full strength in 1987, when he finished third in the 1987 Vuelta a Espana, behind Luis Herrera.

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In 1988, Laurent Fignon won Milan–San Remo, but had to abandon the 1988 Tour.

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In 1989, Laurent Fignon overtook Sean Kelly as leader of the UCI Road World Rankings.

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Laurent Fignon seized the Maglia Rosa on stage 14 and held it for the remainder of the race; he won stage 20.

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LeMond won a minute in the time trial in stage five, using aerobars which enabled a new and more aerodynamic riding position, a new type of teardrop-shaped aerodynamic helmet in the time trials and a rear disc wheel, Laurent Fignon used normal road handlebars and a bicycle with both front and rear disc wheels, which left him more affected by cross winds.

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Laurent Fignon came back by dropping LeMond on Alpe d'Huez, taking back the lead, and after he won alone at Villard-de-Lans the next day, the margin was 50 seconds.

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Laurent Fignon had developed saddle sores in stage 19, which gave him pain and made it impossible to sleep in the night before the time trial.

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Laurent Fignon, who rode after LeMond, lost 58 seconds during the stage.

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Laurent Fignon rode a very fast time trial, and came in third for the stage, but still ended up losing the overall lead to LeMond.

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Laurent Fignon often refused to smile for photographs, and at one point spat into the lens of a cameraman who asked for an interview.

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Laurent Fignon came back after the Tour de France that year to win decidedly the Grand Prix des Nations time trial, an event that was considered at the time to be the world championships of time trials.

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Laurent Fignon showed his versatility winning the Polynormande, Criterium des As, and the two-man Trofeo Baracchi.

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Laurent Fignon withdrew from the 1990 Tour, but finished 6th in 1991.

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The race saw an angered Laurent Fignon take his ninth stage win, holding off a series of attacks by Guimard's Castorama team before winning at Mulhouse during stage 11.

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Laurent Fignon tested positive for amphetamines at the Grand Prix de Wallonie, in 1987, where he finished third.

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Laurent Fignon was disqualified from the final result but claimed, in his autobiography, that the positive test was the result of a commercial dispute between two Belgian companies.

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Laurent Fignon tested positive for amphetamines a second time, at the Grand Prix de la Liberation, on 17 September 1989.

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Laurent Fignon noted this was widespread, and that the practice would not dramatically change the capabilities of a rider.

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Laurent Fignon noted major changes in the sport in the early 1990s with the onset of routine use of Human Growth Hormone and the blood-booster, EPO.

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Laurent Fignon stated he was revolted by the idea of taking hormones to enhance performance, and the mere suggestion he refused out of hand.

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Laurent Fignon retired from competition in 1993 when he realized that cycling had changed, and that he no longer had a place in it.

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On his relationships with Cyrille Guimard and Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon said that with Bernard Hinault, Guimard already found a champion, whereas with himself, Guimard made him a champion.

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Laurent Fignon wrote an autobiography entitled Nous etions jeunes et insouciants, which was released in June 2009.

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In June 2009, Laurent Fignon revealed that he was undergoing chemotherapy for metastatic cancer.

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Laurent Fignon noted that early in his career he had dabbled with recreational drugs, amphetamines and cortisone, but did not believe they played a role in his illness.

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Laurent Fignon's cancer was diagnosed in April 2009 after metastatic tumors were found in his digestive system.

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Laurent Fignon died at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital on 31 August 2010, at 12.

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Laurent Fignon was survived by his son and daughter from his first marriage.

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Laurent Fignon's funeral took place on 3 September 2010 at Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, where he was later cremated.

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Laurent Fignon had a very, very big talent, much more than anyone recognised.

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Laurent Fignon was a great person, one of the few that I find was really true to himself.

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Laurent Fignon was one of the few riders who I really admired for his honesty and his frankness.

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Laurent Fignon's ashes were placed in the columbarium of the Pere Lachaise cemetery.

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