The 1989 Tour de France is arguably the greatest Tour de France ever. It saw American rider Greg LeMond overturn a 50-second deficit to France’s Laurent Fignon on the final stage on the Champs Élysées to snatch the title by a mere eight seconds.
After three weeks and more than 2,000 miles in the saddle, these few seconds remain the smallest margin of victory in the race’s 100+ year history.
But, as dramatic as that Sunday afternoon on the streets of Paris was, the race wasn’t just about that one time-trial. During the previous fortnight, the leader’s yellow jersey had swapped back and forth between LeMond and Fignon in a titanic struggle for supremacy, a battle with more twists and turns than the maziest Alpine mountain pass. At no point during the entire three weeks were LeMond and Fignon separated by more than 53 seconds.
In Three Weeks, Eight Seconds, 220 Triathlon contributor Nige Tassell brings one of cycling’s most astonishing stories to life, examining that extraordinary race in all its multi-faceted glory with fresh interviews and new perspectives and laying bare that towering heights of adrenaline, agony, excitement, torment and triumph that it produced.
Three Weeks, Eight Seconds is out now from Polaris Publishing, priced £14.99.
NIGE TASSELL writes about sport and music, and his work has appeared in the pages of 220 Triathlon, the Guardian, Sunday Times, Esquire, FourFourTwo, Q and The Word. He’s also the author of The Bottom Corner: A Season With The Dreamers Of Non-League Football.