Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"We Were Young and Carefree"

Recently finished reading this autobiography of Laurent Fignon, famous rival to Greg LeMond in the late '80's and early 90's. Larry was never a fan of Fignon but respected his independent spirit and ability on the bike since before he saw the epic Tour de France battle of 1989 play out live in France, only the second "Grand Boucle" he'd followed around France up to that time. This book recounts much more than that however, even a cycling fan as old as Larry learned a few interesting facts he'd not previously known - for example, Fignon claims to have started the first truly independent pro cycling team (along with Cyrille Guimard the legendary coach) as in THEIR company, Maxi-Sports, assembled the team and controlled the expenditures while "selling" the advertising benefits to the Systeme U supermarket company. Cycling teams in France had previously been controlled (as with their previous Renault squad) by the sponsors who spent the money, hired the staff and controlled the program 100% as their own entity. Another interesting technical tidbit will be covered in a future posting but overall, this is an interesting book, whether you were a cycling fan during Fignon's career or came along later when BigTex hit the big time.


  1. Heather

    Wasn't the team "Systeme U"?
    Fignon was a classic. I remember seeing him sitting before a stage of the Tour sipping espresso with his wife and reading the newspaper. Big Tex, sadly, never had that panache...


  2. You're correct (the blog entry has been corrected)about the team name AND the "panache" issue as well. Larry remembers congratulating Fignon and some of the team members in Versailles the morning of the final chrono stage....nobody gave LeMond any chance of making up so much time in such a short distance, most thought the race was well and truly over.