___Race Snippets

 

78th Tour de France 1991

 
   
 

By Barry Boyce CyclingRevealed Historian

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Arrival of the Indurain Era

The French media’s list pre-race favorites did not include defending champion Greg LeMond for the 1991 Tour de France title.  Early season health problems and excess weight forced LeMond to abandon the 1991 Giro d’Italia.  Questions remained before the start of the Tour.  Another notable rider missing from the list of contenders was Delgado’s main lieutenant for the past two years, Miguel Indurain (Spa).  The large framed Spaniard struggled in the mountains during the Vuelta a Espana and most experts thought he would struggle when the Tour got tough. 

Disaster struck for the Dane in the closing kilometers of stage 5. The peloton aggressively negotiated one of the many new roundabouts (traffic circles) on the outskirts of Valenciennes.  The speed of the peloton and narrowing of the road caused a large crash, which included the race leader. Sorensen quickly remounted, chased the lead group, and finished the stage with no time loss.  He retained the race lead, but the injuries suffered (broken collarbone) caused Sorensen to abandon the Tour before the next stage.

SPECIAL NOTE: Stage 6 on the flat roads of Brittany Castorama’s Thierry Marie used the 259 km race route to achieve a small place in Tour history.  He broke away from the peloton in the first 25 km of the stage and steadily built a lead.  His 234 km solo escape was the second longest solo breakaways in Tour history. 

The first major test, the 73 km ITT from Argentan to Alencon, gave the contenders a chance to step forward.  Miguel Indurain, a strong time trialer, started to show his potential.  He cruised to the stage win, 8 seconds ahead of second placed Greg LeMond.  The American’s time gain gave him the race lead and returned the Maillot Jaune to his back.

SPECIAL NOTE: The PDM team found disaster the morning of stage 10 in Rennes.  At the team hotel, Uwe Raab (Ger) and Nico Verhoeven (Ned) spiked a high fever and did not start the stage.  Three other teammates abandoned late that day.  The remaining four riders, Breukink, Jos Van Aert (Ned), Sean Kelly (Ire) and Raul Alcala (Mex), retired from the race the next day.  Rumors of doping spread through the caravan, but the official PDM statement indicated a bad injection of a dietary supplement had unintentionally poisoned the riders. 

SPECIAL NOTE: A minor controversy arose the day after the PDM mystery was breaking with the disqualification of Urs Zimmerman.  The talented Suiss rider had a fear of flying and was disqualified after he refused the official Tour airplane transfer from Nantes to Pau.  He was later reinstated by Tour officials at the strong request of the other riders.

Miguel Indurain, with an impressive display of power, escaped on the Col d’ Aspin.  Chiappucci, sensing the opportunity, chased hard and joined Indurain by the top of the Aspin.  The breakaway duo pulled steadily away from the elite chasers.  On the final climb to Val Louron (average 9% grade), Indurain and Chiappucci pushed a fast pace and had a substantial gap at the finish.  Chiappucci out sprinted Indurain for the stage win and Indurain’s great effort on Val Louron re-wrote the overall classification.  He pulled on the Maillot Jaune for the first time in his career.  LeMond finished ninth, more than 7 minutes behind and dropped to fifth place in the overall classification. 

Through the Alps, Indurain rode defensively and did not leave the side of his closest rivals.  At the top of Alpe d’Huez, Indurain finished second behind Gianni Bugno, who won the classic climb for the second year in a row. 

Gianni Bugno’s last chance to makeup 3’09” on Indurain was the 57 km ITT to Macon.  Unfortunately for Bugno, Indurain was a master of the time trial.  Miguel Indurain powered his way to the stage win and in the process confirmed his superiority.  He gained 27 seconds on Bugno and 48 seconds on LeMond.  Indurain rode onto the Champs Elysees to claim his first grand Tour de France victory.

SPECIAL NOTE: The excitement on the Champs Elysees was provided by Carrera’s Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (Uzb).  The wild sprinter led out the final sprint when he hit a barrier 50 meters from the finish line.  Abdou crashed in devastating fashion.  Dazed and badly injured Abdou walked across the line to claim the Maillot Vert (Green points Jersey). 

Stage and Distance

Stage Winner

Race Leader

Prologue LYON, 5.4 km ITT Thierry Marie (Fra)  Thierry Marie (Fra)
Stage 1 LYON-LYON, 114 km Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (Uzb)  Greg LeMond (USA)
Stage 3 VILLEURBANNE-DIJON, 211 km Etienne De Wilde (Bel)  Rolf Sorensen (Den)
Stage 4 DIJON-REIMS, 286 km Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (Uzb)  Rolf Sorensen (Den)
Stage 5 REIMS-VALENCIENNES, 149 km Jelle Nijdam (Ned)  Rolf Sorensen (Den)
Stage 6 ARRAS-LE HAVRE, 259 km Thierry Marie (Fra)  Thierry Marie (Fra)
Stage 7 LE HAVRE-ARGENTAN, 167 km Jean-Paul Van Poppel (Ned)  Thierry Marie (Fra)
Stage 8 ARGENTAN-ALENCON, 73 km ITT Miguel Indurain (Spa)  Greg LeMond (USA)
Stage 9 ALENCON-RENNES, 161 km Mauro Ribeiro (Bre)  Greg LeMond (USA)
Stage 10 RENNES-QUIMPER, 207 km Phil Anderson (Aus)  Greg LeMond (USA)
Stage 11 QUIMPER-ST HERBLAIN, 246 km Charly Mottet (Fra)  Greg LeMond (USA)
Stage 12 PAU-JACA (Spa), 192 km Charly Mottet (Fra)  Luc Leblanc (Fra)
Stage 13 JACA (Spa)-VAL LOURON, 232 km Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)  Miguel Indurain (Spa)
Stage 14 ST GAUDENS-CASTRES, 172 km Bruno Cenghialta (Ita)  Miguel Indurain (Spa)
Stage 15 ALBI-ALES, 235 km Moreno Argentin (Ita)  Miguel Indurain (Spa)
Stage 16 ALES-GAP, 215 km Marco Lietti (Ita) Miguel Indurain (Spa)
Stage 17 GAP-ALPE D'HUEZ, 125 km Gianni Bugno (Ita)  Miguel Indurain (Spa)
Stage 18 BOURG D'OISANS-MORZINE, 255 km Thierry Claveyrolat (Ita)  Miguel Indurain (Spa)
Stage 19 MORZINE-AIX LES BAINS, 177 km Dimitri Konyshev (Urs)  Miguel Indurain (Spa)
Stage 20 AIX LES BAINS-MACON, 160 km Vjatceslav Ekimov (Urs)  Miguel Indurain (Spa)
Stage 21 LUGNY-MACON, 57 km ITT Miguel Indurain (Spa)  Miguel Indurain (Spa)
Stage 22 MACON-PARIS/Champs Elysees, 178 km Dimitri Konyshev (Urs)  Miguel Indurain (Spa)

POLKA DOT JERSEY

PDJ Claudio Chiappucci (Ita) 

  GREEN POINT'S JERSEY

GJ Djamolidine, Abdujaparov, (Uzb)

 

TdF July 6-July 28, 1991
3,913 Km

1. Miguel INDURAIN (Spa) 101h01'20"

2. Gianni Bugno (Ita) +3'36"

3. Claudio Chiappucci (Ita) +5'56"

Starters: 198
Finishers: 158
Average Speed: 38.747 km/h

 

 

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