1986 Tour de France

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1986 Tour de France
Map of France with the route of the 1986 Tour de France
Route of the 1986 Tour de France
Followed counterclockwise, finishing in Paris
Race details
Dates July 4–July 27, 1986
Stages 23 + Prologue
Distance 4,093.4 km (2,544 mi)
Winning time 110h 35' 19" (37.020 km/h or 23.003 mph)
Winner  Greg LeMond (United States) (La Vie Claire)
Second  Bernard Hinault (France) (La Vie Claire)
Third  Urs Zimmermann (Switzerland) (Carrera-Inoxpran)

Points  Eric Vanderaerden (Belgium) (Panasonic-Merckx-Agu)
Mountains  Bernard Hinault (France) (La Vie Claire)
Youth  Andrew Hampsten (United States) (La Vie Claire)
Combination  Greg LeMond (United States) (La Vie Claire)
Sprints  Gerrit Solleveld (Netherlands) (Kwantum-Decosol-Yoko)
Team La Vie Claire
Team Points Panasonic-Merckx-Agu

The 1986 Tour de France was the 73rd running of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. The Tour consisted of 23 stages, beginning with a prologue in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris, on 4 July, and concluded on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on 27 July,[1] This year had the first American cycling team, 7-Eleven, in Tour's history. The race was organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation, was shown on television in 72 countries, with the total viewers estimated at one billion.[2]

Following the success of Bernard Hinault in the previous edition, the La Vie Claire team was heavily favored. Hinault promised to return Greg LeMond's support to win the race, however, continuing attacks cast doubt on Hinault's sincerity. He claimed that his tactics were simply to wear down LeMond's (and his) opponents and that he ultimately knew that LeMond would be the winner because of time losses earlier in the race. Regardless of his true motives, this tactic worked well, and rivals Laurent Fignon of Système U and Carrera-Inoxpran's Urs Zimmermann were put on the defensive from the first day. Fignon quit the race due to injuries aggravated by stress.

The ascent of the legendary Alpe d'Huez gave spectators a spectacular stage in which Hinault made a suicidal solo attack to demoralize the opposition, to be matched only by LeMond at the top. In a gesture of respect, the two riders reached the top hand-in-hand, beaming smiles, and LeMond let Hinault finish first to claim the stage. However, within hours their competition resumed during interviews in French television.

The race was won by LeMond, the first American to win the Tour, with a winning margin of three minutes and ten seconds over Hinault, and Zimmermann completed the podium, ten minutes and 54 seconds down on Hinault. In the race's other classifications, Hinault won the mountains classification, Système U rider Thierry Marie the points classification, La Vie Claire's Andrew Hampsten won the young rider classification, with La Vie Claire finishing at the head of the team classification by one hour 51 minutes, after placing four riders inside the final overall top ten placings.

Participating teams[edit]

In June, 23 teams had requested to start in the 1986 Tour.[3] The Tour direction accepted 21 applications, so a total of 21 teams participated in the 1986 Tour de France. Each team sent a squad of ten riders, which meant that the race would start with a peloton of 210 cyclists.[4][5] 7-Eleven became the Tour's first team from the United States, with a squad consisting of eight Americans, one Canadian and one Mexican.[6][4] From the 210 riders that began this edition, 132 made it to the finish in Paris.[7]

The 21 teams that took part in the race were:[4]

The two teams whose application was denied were Skala-Skil and Miko.[3]

Pre-race favourites[edit]

La Vie Claire teammates, Bernard Hinault (left, pictured in 2012), the 1985 winner and the eventual runner-up, and Greg LeMond (right, pictured in 2009), the eventual winner, had been considered among the favourites to win before the race.

Bernard Hinault, winner of the 1985 Tour de France, had promised to support his team mate Greg LeMond, who had finished second in 1985. After their domination in 1985, their La Vie Claire team was the clear favourite. Past winner Laurent Fignon was working on his comeback, for the Système U team.[8]

Route and stages[edit]

The route of the 1986 Tour de France was announced in October 1985. Tour director Levitan felt after the 1985 Tour de France that the race had been too easy, and made the course in 1986 extra difficult, including more mountain climbs than before. This angered Hinault, who threatened to skip the 1986 Tour.[9]

The 1986 Tour de France started on 4 July; one week later than normal, to avoid overlapping the 1986 FIFA World Cup.[9] It had one rest day, after the finish on the Alpe d'Huez.[10]

List of stages[5][11][12]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
P 4 July Boulogne-Billancourt 4.6 km (2.9 mi) History.gif Individual time trial  Thierry Marie (FRA)
1 5 July Nanterre – Sceaux 85 km (52.8 mi) Plainstage.svg Plain stage  Pol Verschuere (BEL)
2 5 July Meudon – Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines 56 km (34.8 mi) History.gif Team time trial Système U
3 6 July Levallois-Perret – Liévin 214 km (133.0 mi) Plainstage.svg Plain stage  Pello Ruiz (ESP)
4 7 July Liévin – Évreux 243 km (151.0 mi) Plainstage.svg Plain stage  Johan van der Velde (NED)
5 8 July Evreux – Villers-sur-Mer 124.5 km (77.4 mi) Plainstage.svg Plain stage  Guido Bontempi (ITA)
6 9 July Villers-sur-Mer – Cherbourg 200 km (124.3 mi) Plainstage.svg Plain stage  Ludo Peeters (BEL)
7 10 July Cherbourg – Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët 201 km (124.9 mi) Plainstage.svg Plain stage  Eddy Planckaert (BEL)
8 11 July Saint-Hilaire-du-Harcouët – Nantes 204 km (126.8 mi) Plainstage.svg Plain stage  Bernard Hinault (FRA)
9 12 July Nantes 61.5 km (38.2 mi) History.gif Individual time trial  Jose-Angel Sarrapio (ESP)
10 13 July Nantes – Futuroscope 183 km (113.7 mi) Plain stage  Rudy Dhaenens (BEL)
11 14 July Futuroscope – Bordeaux 258.3 km (160.5 mi) Plainstage.svg Plain stage  Pedro Delgado (ESP)
12 15 July Bayonne – Pau 217.5 km (135.1 mi) Mountainstage.svg Stage with mountain(s)  Greg LeMond (USA)
13 16 July Pau – Superbagnères 186 km (115.6 mi) Mountainstage.svg Stage with mountain(s)  Niki Rüttimann (SUI)
14 17 July Superbagnères – Blagnac 154 km (95.7 mi) Mountainstage.svg Stage with mountain(s)  Matteo Trentin (ITA)
15 18 July Carcassonne – Nîmes 225.5 km (140.1 mi) Plain stage  Frank Hoste (BEL)
16 19 July Nîmes – Gap 246.5 km (153.2 mi) Mediummountainstage.svg Hilly stage  Jean-François Bernard (FRA)
17 20 July Gap – Serre Chevalier 190 km (118.1 mi) Mountainstage.svg Stage with mountain(s)  Eduardo Chozas (ESP)
18 21 July Briançon – Alpe d'Huez 162.5 km (101.0 mi) Mountainstage.svg Stage with mountain(s)  Bernard Hinault (FRA)
22 July Rest day
19 23 July Villard-de-Lans – Saint-Étienne 179.5 km (111.5 mi) Mediummountainstage.svg Hilly stage  Julián Gorospe (ESP)
20 24 July Saint-Étienne 58 km (36.0 mi) History.gif Individual time trial  Bernard Hinault (FRA)
21 25 July Saint-Étienne – Puy de Dôme 190 km (118.1 mi) Mediummountainstage.svg Hilly stage  Erich Mächler (SUI)
22 26 July Clermont-Ferrand – Nevers 194 km (120.5 mi) Plain stage  Guido Bontempi (ITA)
23 27 July Cosne-sur-Loire – Paris 255 km (158.4 mi) Plain stage  Guido Bontempi (ITA)
Total 4,093.4 km (2,544 mi)

Race overview[edit]

A cyclist on a bicycle, with spectators behind a fence.
Système U rider Thierry Marie (pictured in 1993) won the opening prologue, taking the lead of the 1986 Tour.

The prologue was won by Thierry Marie, with Hinault in second place, just two seconds slower.[8] Marie lost the lead in the first stage to Alex Stieda, thanks to bonus time that Stieda won in intermediate sprints.[8]

Stieda tried to defend the lead in the second stage, a team time trial, but lost time when his team mate Eric Heiden crashed, and Marie was back in the lead.[8]

The following stages were flat. Although the lead changed several times (first to Dominique Gaigne, then to Johan van der Velde and later to Jørgen V. Pedersen), there were no significant time differences between the favourites. The first test for them was the ninth stage, an individual time trial. Won by Hinault, it put him in third place, 49 seconds in front of LeMond, who had suffered from a flat tire.[8]

Stages 12 and 13 were in the Pyrenees. In the 12th stage, Hinault and his team mate Jean-François Bernard were in front together with Pedro Delgado. LeMond was part of the chasing group, but because he was part of the same team as Hinault and Bernard, he did not help with the chase. Only at the last part of the stage, LeMond escaped from that group, taking only Luis Herrera with him, but by then he was already four minutes behind on the stage. Hinault let Delgado win the stage, but Hinault became the new leader in the general classification, with LeMond in second place, five minutes behind.[8]

In the thirteen stage, Hinault attacked again, on the Tourmalet, the first of the four big climbs. LeMond was in the same situation as the day before: he had the power to do more, but did not want to chase his team mate. Hinault extended his lead to almost three minutes at the start of the Col d'Aspin. But Hinault was getting tired, and was caught by a small group (including LeMond) on the Peyresourde, the third climb of the day. On the final climb of the day, to Superbagnères, Hinault attacked again. This time, he was quickly caught, and some time later, Andrew Hampsten (from the same team as Hinault and LeMond) attacked. Hampsten was joined by LeMond, and Hampsten paced LeMond as far as he could, and then LeMond left on his own for the stage victory. On these final kilometres, Hinault lost several minutes to LeMond, and at the end of the stage, Hinault was still leading the general classification, but only 40 seconds in front of LeMond.[8]

In stages 14 to 16, travelling from the Pyrenees to the Alps, there were no important changes in the general classification.

A cyclist wearing a yellow jersey.
La Vie Claire's Greg LeMond (pictured in 1993) lead the GC from the stage 17 until the conclusion of final 23-stage race.

In stage 17, in the Alps, Urs Zimmermann (third in the general classification) attacked in the climb of the Col d'Izoard. LeMond followed him, leaving Hinault behind. The stage was won by Eduardo Chozas; LeMond kept following Zimmermann until the finishline, and Hinault lost three minutes to them. This made LeMond the new leader of the race, with Zimmermann in second place, and Hinault third.[8]

In the 18th stage, Hinault attacked several times, but every time he was rejoined by LeMond and others. After an attack on the Col du Télégraphe, Zimmermann was unable to follow. LeMond and Hinault only had Steve Bauer and Pello Ruiz-Cabestany with them, but on the climb of the Croix de Fer, they could not follow so it was just LeMond and Hinault. They stayed together until the finish, where LeMond allowed Hinault to win. The margin with Zimmermann (third to finish on that stage) was more than 5 minutes, and it was clear that Zimmermann could no longer win the Tour.[8]

Hinault still had a small chance of beating his team mate LeMond. One of those chances was in the individual time trial in stage 20. Halfway his race, LeMond fell, and had to change bikes after the fall, losing time in that way. Hinault won the stage, beating LeMond by 25 seconds.[8]

Stage 21 was the last mountainous stage of the Tour. On the final climb, LeMond was able to leave Hinault behind, and increased his lead to more than three minutes.[8]

After that, the final classification was settled. On the last stage of the Tour, LeMond crashed and needed a new bike; his team mates (including Hinault) waited for him, and escorted him back to the other riders. Hinault joined the sprint for the final stage victory, but finished in fourth place, beaten by Guido Bontempi.

LeMond won the general classification ahead of Hinault.

Classification leadership[edit]

There were several classifications in the 1986 Tour de France, six of them awarding jerseys to their leaders. The most important was the general classification, calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the yellow jersey; the winner of this classification is considered the winner of the Tour.[13]

Additionally, there was a points classification,where cyclists were given points for finishing among the best in a stage finish. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a green jersey.[13] There was also a mountains classification. The organisation had categorized some climbs as either hors catégorie, first, second, third, or fourth-category; points for this classification were won by the first cyclists that reached the top of these climbs first, with more points available for the higher-categorized climbs. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a polkadot jersey.[13] There was also a combination classification. This classification was calculated as a combination of the other classifications, its leader wore the combination jersey.[14] Another classification was the debutant classification. This was decided the same way as the general classification, but only riders that rode the Tour for the first time were eligible, and the leader wore a white jersey.[13] The sixth individual classification was the intermediate sprints classification. This classification had similar rules as the points classification, but only points were awarded on intermediate sprints. Its leader wore a red jersey.[15]

For the team classification, the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the leading team was the team with the lowest total time. The riders in the team that lead this classification wore yellow caps.[16][17] There was also a team points classification. After each stage, the stage rankings of the best three cyclists per team were added, and the team with the least total lead this classification, and were identified by green caps.[14]

The rows in the following table correspond to the jerseys awarded after that stage was run.

Stage Winner General classification
Yellow jersey
Points classification
Green jersey
Mountains classification
Polkadot jersey
Young rider classification
White jersey
Team classification
Jersey with yellow number
P Thierry Marie Thierry Marie Thierry Marie not awarded Jesus Blanco Villar Système U
1 Pol Verschuere Alex Stieda Pol Verschuere Alex Stieda Alex Stieda
2 Système U Thierry Marie Eric Vanderaerden Eric Boyer
3 Davis Phinney
4 Pello Ruiz Cabestany Dominique Gaigne
5 Johan van der Velde Johan van der Velde
6 Guido Bontempi Régis Simon
7 Ludo Peeters Jørgen V. Pedersen Carrera-Inoxpran
8 Eddy Planckaert
9 Bernard Hinault Bruno Cornillet
10 Angel Sarrapio
11 Rudy Dhaenens
12 Pedro Delgado Bernard Hinault Ronan Pensec Jean-François Bernard La Vie Claire
13 Greg LeMond Robert Millar Andrew Hampsten
14 Niki Rüttimann
15 Frank Hoste
16 Jean-François Bernard
17 Eduardo Chozas Greg LeMond
18 Bernard Hinault Greg LeMond
19 Julián Gorospe Bernard Hinault
20 Bernard Hinault
21 Erich Maechler
22 Guido Bontempi
23 Guido Bontempi
Final Greg LeMond Eric Vanderaerden Bernard Hinault Andrew Hampsten La Vie Claire

Classification standings[edit]

  Jersey yellow.svg   Denotes the leader of the general classification   Jersey polkadot.svg   Denotes the leader of the mountains classification
  Jersey green.svg   Denotes the leader of the points classification   Jersey white.svg   Denotes the leader of the young rider classification
  Jersey yellow number.svg   Denotes the leader of the team classification

General classification[edit]

Final general classification (1–10)[7][5]
Rank Name Team Time
1  Greg LeMond (USA) Jersey yellow.svgJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 110h 35' 19"
2  Bernard Hinault (FRA) Polka dot jerseyJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire +3' 10"
3  Urs Zimmermann (SUI) Carrera-Inoxpran +10' 54"
4  Andrew Hampsten (USA) Jersey white.svgJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire +18' 44"
5  Claude Criquielion (BEL) Hitachi-Marc-Splendor +24' 36"
6  Ronan Pensec (FRA) Peugeot-Shell +25' 59"
7  Niki Rüttimann (SUI) Jersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire +30' 52"
8  Álvaro Pino (ESP) Zor-BH +33' 00"
9  Steven Rooks (NED) PDM-Concorde +33' 22"
10  Yvon Madiot (FRA) Système U +33' 27"

Points classification[edit]

Final points classification (1–5)[18]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Eric Vanderaerden (BEL) Jersey green.svg Panasonic-Merckx-Agu 277
2  Jozef Lieckens (BEL) Joker-Emerxil-Eddy Merckx 232
3  Bernard Hinault (FRA) Polka dot jerseyJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 210
4  Greg LeMond (USA) Jersey yellow.svgJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 210
5  Guido Bontempi (ITA) Carrera-Inoxpran 166

Mountains classification[edit]

Final mountains classification (1–10)[18][19]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Bernard Hinault (FRA) Polka dot jerseyJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 351
2  Luis Herrera (COL) Café de Colombia-Piles Varta 270
3  Greg LeMond (USA) Jersey yellow.svgJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 265
4  Urs Zimmermann (SUI) Carrera-Inoxpran 191
5  Eduardo Chozas (ESP) Teka 172
6  Samuel Cabrera (COL) Reynolds-TS Batteries 162
7  Ronan Pensec (FRA) Peugeot-Shell 139
8  Andrew Hampsten (USA) Jersey white.svgJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 133
9  Claude Criquielion (BEL) Hitachi-Marc-Splendor 123
10  Jean-François Bernard (FRA)Jersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 105

Team classification[edit]

Final team classification (1–10)[18]
Rank Team Time
1 La Vie Claire 331h 35' 48"
2 Peugeot-Shell +1h 51' 50"
3 Système U +2h 00' 50"
4 PDM-Concorde +2h 23' 50"
5 Carrera-Inoxpran +2h 26' 36"
6 Fagor +2h 28' 52"
7 Panasonic-Merckx-Agu +2h 31' 08"
8 Teka +2h 43' 36"
9 Zor-BH +2h 43' 36"
10 Café de Colombia-Piles Varta +2h 55' 45"

Team points classification[edit]

Final team points classification (1–3)[19]
Rank Team Points
1 Panasonic-Merckx-Agu 1523
2 La Vie Claire 1674
3 Kas 1869

Combination classification[edit]

Final combination classification (1–5)[18]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Greg LeMond (USA) Jersey yellow.svgJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 87
2  Bernard Hinault (FRA) Polka dot jerseyJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 87
3  Claude Criquielion (BEL) Hitachi-Marc-Splendor 68
4  Urs Zimmermann (SUI) Carrera-Inoxpran 61
5  Andrew Hampsten (USA) Jersey white.svgJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 59

Young rider classification[edit]

Debutant classification (1–5)[18]
Rank Name Team Time
1  Andrew Hampsten (USA) Jersey white.svgJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 110h 54' 03"
2  Ronan Pensec (FRA) Peugeot-Shell +7' 15"
3  Jean-François Bernard (FRA)Jersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire +17' 01"
4  Jesus Blanco (ESP) Teka +44' 32"
5  Peter Stevenhaagen (NED) PDM-Concorde +51' 56"

Intermediate sprints classification[edit]

Intermediate sprints classification (1–10)[18]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Gerrit Solleveld (NED) Kwantum-Decosol-Yoko 305
2  Dirk De Wolf (BEL) Hitachi-Marc-Splendor 170
3  Dominique Arnaud (FRA) Reynolds-TS Batteries 145
4  Johan van der Velde (NED) Panasonic-Merckx-Agu 86
5  Julián Gorospe (ESP) Reynolds-TS Batteries 60
6  Régis Simon (FRA) ROM-Meral-Mavic 57
7  Adri van der Poel (NED) Kwantum-Decosol-Yoko 55
8  Guido Winterberg (SUI) Jersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 50
9  Greg LeMond (USA) Jersey yellow.svgJersey yellow number.svg La Vie Claire 49
10  Eduardo Chozas (ESP) Teka 45


Before the race, Hinault had promised to help LeMond win the Tour. After the race, when he was reminded of that promise, Hinault said that the many attacks that he made were not against LeMond, but against his competitors.[8]

Hinault retired shortly after the Tour. LeMond could not defend his Tour victory in the 1987 Tour de France, because he was badly injured in a shooting accident in early 1987. He recovered for a few years, but came back to win the 1989 and 1990 tours.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique" (PDF) (in French). Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 2009-10-09. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Christopher S. (2008). The Tour de France: A Cultural History. University of California Press. p. 48. ISBN 0520934865. 
  3. ^ a b Ceulen, Bennie (11 June 1986). "Levitan weigert ploeg Kuiper voor de Tour". Limburgsch Dagblad (in Dutch) (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). p. 27. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "The starters". The history of the Tour de France. Issy-les-Moulineaux, France: Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c "73ème Tour de France 1986" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 28 August 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  6. ^ McGann & McGann 2008, p. 163.
  7. ^ a b "Stage 23 Cosne > Paris". The history of the Tour de France. Issy-les-Moulineaux, France: Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l McGann & McGann 2008.
  9. ^ a b "Hinault boos op Tourbaas Levitan". Leidsch Dagblad (in Dutch) (Regionaal archief Leiden). 9 October 1985. p. 15. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Augendre, Jacques (2009). "Guide Historique, Part 4" (PDF) (in French). Issy-les-Moulineaux, France: Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "The stages". The history of the Tour de France. Issy-les-Moulineaux, France: Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 9 July 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c d Christian, Sarah (2 July 2009). "Tour de France demystified — Evaluating success". RoadCycling.co.nz Ltd. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Other Classifications & Awards". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Mark, Eddy van der. "Tour Xtra: Intermediate Sprints Classification". Chippewa Valley Cycling Club. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  16. ^ Heijmans & Mallon 2011, p. 200.
  17. ^ Woodland 2011, p. 203.
  18. ^ a b c d e f "Clasificaciones oficiales". El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 28 July 1986. p. 31. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "Wielrennen: Tour de France". Leidsche Courant (in Dutch) (Regionaal Archief Leiden). 28 July 1986. p. 14. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]