Greg LeMond wins second Tour De France

On this day in 1990, American Greg LeMond, riding for Team Z, wins his third Tour de France after leading the majority of the race. It was LeMond’s second consecutive Tour de France victory.

LeMond was born on June 26, 1961, in Lakeland, California. He established himself early as a force to be reckoned with on the junior cycling circuit, and in 1979 won the World Championship Road Race junior title. LeMond turned professional in 1981 and was recruited by the great French cyclist Bernard Hinault to join cycling giant Team Renault. Just five years later in 1986, LeMond finished ahead of Hinault and shocked the world by becoming the first American and the first non-European ever to win the three-week, more than 2,200-mile Tour de France, the world’s most celebrated cycling championship.

The next year, while LeMond was again training for the Tour de France, tragedy struck. On April 20, 1987, he was accidentally shot by his brother-in-law while on a hunting trip. Shotgun pellets lodged in his lungs, his small intestine, his liver, the lining of his heart and all over his back and legs. While awaiting an ambulance, his lung collapsed and he lost dangerous amounts of blood. It took two years of rehabilitation before LeMond could get back on a bike.

LeMond was still not quite in peak shape in 1989, and was suffering from an infected tendon in his leg when he entered that year’s Tour de France. Somehow, though, he was good enough: LeMond won his second Tour over Frenchman Laurent Fignon by just eight seconds, the smallest margin of victory in the race’s history. The miracle comeback–along with his win the next month at cycling’s World Championship–caused a sensation in the United States, and LeMond was named the 1989 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.

LeMond returned to France for the 1990 Tour a hero embraced by both fans and the media. Swamped by media requests and endorsement deals, LeMond had spent much of the 1989-90 off-season making appearances instead of training. Though he did not dominate and did not win a single stage of the Tour, he did manage to place second in two of the race’s grueling mountain stages and consistently completed stages toward the front of the pack. This was enough to put him in the lead for most of the race. In the end, he finished 2:16 ahead of Claudio Chiapucci of Italy and 2:29 ahead of Dutch cyclist Erik Breukink for his third Tour de France victory. Only five cyclists in history have won the Tour de France more times.

Greg LeMond retired from racing in 1994. Five years later, Lance Armstrong became the second American to win the Tour de France.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!


Jessica Lynch gets hero’s welcome

On this day in 2003, U.S. Army Private Jessica Lynch, a prisoner-of-war who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital, receives a hero’s welcome when she returns to her hometown of Palestine, West Virginia. The story of the 19-year-old supply clerk, who was captured by Iraqi forces in more

The Preparedness Day bombing

In San Francisco, a bomb at a Preparedness Day parade on Market Street kills 10 people and wounds 40. The bomb was hidden in a suitcase. The parade was organized by the city’s Chamber of Commerce in support of America’s possible entrance into World War I. San Francisco was more

Qusay and Uday Hussein killed

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s sons, Qusay and Uday Hussein, are killed after a three-hour firefight with U.S. forces in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. It is widely believed that the two men were even more cruel and ruthless than their notorious father, and their death more

Dillinger gunned down

Outside Chicago’s Biograph Theatre, notorious criminal John Dillinger–America’s “Public Enemy No. 1″–is killed in a hail of bullets fired by federal agents. In a fiery bank-robbing career that lasted just over a year, Dillinger and his associates robbed 11 banks for more than more

North Vietnamese condemn Honolulu Conference

Nguyen Thanh Le, North Vietnamese spokesman at the Paris peace talks, tells reporters that the Honolulu conference reveals that “the position of the United States remains infinitely obstinate.” According to the North Vietnamese, the war would continue as long as the United States more

Kaskaskia is inundated by flood of ’93

On this day in 1993, the levee holding back the flooding Mississippi River at Kaskaskia, Illinois, ruptures, forcing the town’s people to flee on barges. The Mississippi flood of 1993 caused $18 billion in damages and killed 52 people. From June through August 1993, the more

Battle of Atlanta continues

Confederate General John Bell Hood continues to try to drive General William T. Sherman from the outskirts of Atlanta when he attacks the Yankees on Bald Hill. The attack failed, and Sherman tightened his hold on Atlanta. Confederate President Jefferson Davis had appointed Hood more