1991 Tour de France

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1991 Tour de France
Map of France with the route of the Tour de France 1991
Route of the 1991 Tour de France
Race details
Dates 6–28 July 1991
Stages 22+Prologue
Distance 3,914.4 km (2,432 mi)
Winning time 101h 01' 20"
Winner  Miguel Indurain (Spain) (Banesto)
Second  Gianni Bugno (Italy) (Gatorade)
Third  Claudio Chiappucci (Italy) (Carrera)

Points  Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (Soviet Union) (Carrera)
Mountains  Claudio Chiappucci (Italy) (Carrera)
Youth  Álvaro Mejía (Colombia) (Rialco)
Team Banesto

The 1991 Tour de France was the 78th Tour de France, taking place July 6 to July 28, 1991. The total race distance was 22 stages over 3914 km, with riders averaging 38.747 km/h.[1] The race was won by Miguel Indurain, whose Banesto team also won the team classification. The points classification was won by Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, although he almost crashed out in the final stage. The mountains classification was won by Claudio Chiappucci, and the young rider classification by Álvaro Mejía.

Changes from the 1990 Tour de France[edit]

The leaders of the team classification had for a long time worn yellow caps, but this was abandoned after the 1990 Tour.[2]


For a more comprehensive list, see List of teams and cyclists in the 1991 Tour de France.

The 1991 Tour started with 198 cyclists, divided into 22 teams of 9 cyclists.[3] Sixteens teams qualified by being ranked in the top 16 of the FICP ranking for teams in May 1991:[4]

After the 1991 Giro d'Italia and the Dauphiné Libéré, the Tour organisation gave six additional wildcards:[5]

Greg LeMond, the winner of the last two editions, was still considered a favourite going into the race,[6] although not by the French media, as his early season had been unsuccessful.[7]


Stage results[3][8]
Stage Date Route Terrain Length Winner
P 6 July Lyon Individual time trial 5.4 km (3.4 mi)  Thierry Marie (FRA)
1 7 July LyonLyon Plain stage 114.5 km (71.1 mi)  Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (URS)
2 7 July BronChassieu Team time trial 36.5 km (22.7 mi) Ariostea
3 8 July VilleurbanneDijon Plain stage 210.5 km (130.8 mi)  Etienne De Wilde (BEL)
4 9 July DijonReims Plain stage 286.0 km (177.7 mi)  Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (URS)
5 10 July ReimsValenciennes Plain stage 149.5 km (92.9 mi)  Jelle Nijdam (NED)
6 11 July ArrasLe Havre Plain stage 259.0 km (160.9 mi)  Thierry Marie (FRA)
7 12 July Le HavreArgentan Plain stage 167.0 km (103.8 mi)  Jean-Paul van Poppel (NED)
8 13 July ArgentanAlençon Individual time trial 73.0 km (45.4 mi)  Miguel Indurain (ESP)
9 14 July AlençonRennes Plain stage 161.0 km (100.0 mi)  Mauro Ribeiro (BRA)
10 15 July RennesQuimper Plain stage 207.5 km (128.9 mi)  Phil Anderson (AUS)
11 16 July QuimperSaint-Herblain Plain stage 246.0 km (152.9 mi)  Charly Mottet (FRA)
12 18 July PauJaca Stage with mountain(s) 192.0 km (119.3 mi)  Charly Mottet (FRA)
13 19 July JacaVal-Louron Stage with mountain(s) 232.0 km (144.2 mi)  Claudio Chiappucci (ITA)
14 20 July St GaudensCastres Plain stage 172.5 km (107.2 mi)  Bruno Cenghialta (ITA)
15 21 July AlbiAles Hilly stage 235.0 km (146.0 mi)  Moreno Argentin (ITA)
16 22 July AlèsGap Plain stage 215.0 km (133.6 mi)  Marco Lietti (ITA)
17 23 July GapAlpe d'Huez Stage with mountain(s) 125.0 km (77.7 mi)  Gianni Bugno (ITA)
18 24 July Le Bourg-d'OisansMorzine Stage with mountain(s) 255.0 km (158.4 mi)  Thierry Claveyrolat (FRA)
19 25 July MorzineAix-les-Bains Hilly stage 177.0 km (110.0 mi)  Dmitri Konychev (URS)
20 26 July Aix-les-BainsMâcon Hilly stage 160.0 km (99.4 mi)  Viatcheslav Ekimov (URS)
21 27 July LugnyMâcon Individual time trial 57.0 km (35.4 mi)  Miguel Indurain (ESP)
22 28 July MelunParis (Champs-Élysées) Plain stage 178.0 km (110.6 mi)  Dmitri Konychev (URS)

Race details[edit]

The prologue was won by specialist Thierry Marie, who also had won the prologue in the previous race. LeMond finished with the third-best time.[6]

In the first stage, a group of eleven cyclists escaped, including some cyclists aiming for the overall win: LeMond, Breukink, Rolf Sørensen and Kelly. Marie was not in this group, and thanks to time bonuses LeMond became the race leader. Later that day, the team time trial (stage 2) was run, won by Sørensen's team, and Sørensen became the new leader of the general classification.[6] Sørensen kept the lead for a few stages, but in the fifth stage he fell and broke his clavicle. He managed to finish the stage, but was unable to start the next stage, so the sixth stage started without a yellow jersey.[9] In that sixth stage, Thierry Marie escaped early in the stage, and reached the finish alone, with a solo of 234 kilometres (145 mi), the third-longest post-war solo escape in the Tour de France. His margin to the rest was big enough to put him back in the top position of the general classification.[6]

The time trial in stage eight was won by Miguel Indurain, with LeMond in second place, only eight seconds slower. This was enough to make LeMond the new leader, with Breukink in second place.[6]

Before the tenth stage, two cyclists from PDM gave up. During that stage, two more gave up, and one came in late. The team revealed that the remaining four cyclists (including Breukink, Kelly and Alcala, ranked in the top ten of the general classification) were also sick, and the next morning the entire team abandoned. There were rumours that a doping program had gone wrong, but no official penalties were given.[6]

After the eleventh stage, there was a rest day, on which the cyclists were transferred from Nantes to Pau, by airplane. Urs Zimmermann had a fear of flying, so he refused to use the airplane. The jury then disqualified him, but after the other cyclists protested, he was allowed to use other means of transportation.[7]

A cyclist going towards the camera, with other cyclists and team cars behind him, and mountains in the background.
Robert Millar on the Alpe d'Huez

The Tour entered the Pyrenees in the twelfth stage. A group escaped with some strong outsiders: Luc Leblanc, Charly Mottet and Pascal Richard. LeMond was unable to organise the chase, so the group stayed away until the finish. Mottet won the stage, and Leblanc became the new leader in the general classification, with LeMond now in second place.[6]

The thirteenth stage included even more climbs than the twelfth stage. LeMond escaped on the bottom of the Tourmalet, but Indurain chased him and reached him, taking other cyclists with him. Near the top of the Tourmalet, LeMond was unable to follow, and lost contact with the others. After the top, LeMond was able to get back on the descent, but in the meantime Indurain had escaped. LeMond tried to get back to Indurain, but was unable to do so. When they reached the start of the climb of the Col d'Aspin, LeMond was within sight of Indurain, but on the climb Indurain increased the distance.

A man sitting in a blue seat, holding a trophy and a magazine
Indurain with the trophy on a plane back to Spain.

Claudio Chiappucci had escaped from the chasing group, and was getting close to Indurain. When Indurain heard this, he waited for Chiappucci; they then worked together to get away from LeMond. Chiappucci and Indurain stayed away until the finish; Chiappucci won the stage and Indurain became the new leader. LeMond finished that stage in ninth place, losing more than seven minutes.[6]

The next three stages were relatively flat, and normally no important changes in the general classification are expected. But LeMond did everything he could to win back time, and escaped on the sixteenth stage; finishing in second place, he won back almost half a minute.[6]

The seventeenth stage was in the Alps, with an uphill finish on l'Alpe d'Huez. Gianni Bugno won, closely followed by Indurain. LeMond lost two more minutes this stage.[6] The eighteenth stage was the last mountainous stage, and in this stage LeMond lost almost seven minutes. Indurain was leading the race, three minutes before Gianni Bugno. Because a time trial, Indurain's specialty, was the last serious obstacle in the race, Indurain was almost sure of the victory. And indeed, Indurain won that time trial, so he won the Tour de France of 1991.[6]

In the last stage, there was a crash on the Champs-Elysées, just before the finish, after Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, sprinting for the stage victory, hit a barrier. Abdoujaparov was leading the points classification, but had to finish the stage to win this classification. After fifteen minutes, he was able to get up and walk his bicycle across the finish line.[6]

Classification leadership[edit]

Stage Winner General classification
Mountains classification
Points classification
Young rider classification Team classification
Combativity award
P Thierry Marie Thierry Marie not awarded Thierry Marie Laurent Jalabert Castorama-Raleigh not awarded
1 Djamolidine Abdoujaparov Greg LeMond Rolf Järmann Greg LeMond PDM–Concorde Greg LeMond
2 Ariostea Rolf Sørensen Massimiliano Lelli
3 Etienne De Wilde Djamolidine Abdoujaparov
4 Djamolidine Abdoujaparov Peter De Clercq
5 Jelle Nijdam Claudio Chiappucci
6 Thierry Marie Thierry Marie Thierry Marie Thierry Marie
7 Jean-Paul van Poppel Peter De Clercq
8 Miguel Indurain Greg LeMond
9 Mauro Ribeiro
10 Phil Anderson
11 Charly Mottet Banesto
12 Charly Mottet Luc Leblanc Pascal Richard Miguel Angel Martínez Torres Castorama-Raleigh
13 Claudio Chiappucci Miguel Indurain Claudio Chiappucci Álvaro Mejía Banesto Claudio Chiappucci
14 Bruno Cenghialta
15 Moreno Argentin
16 Marco Lietti
17 Gianni Bugno
18 Thierry Claveyrolat
19 Dmitri Konychev
20 Viatcheslav Ekimov
21 Miguel Indurain
22 Dmitri Konychev
Final Miguel Indurain Claudio Chiappucci Djamolidine Abdoujaparov Álvaro Mejía Banesto Claudio Chiappucci


There were several classifications in the 1991 Tour de France. 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.[10]

Additionally, there was a points classification, which awarded a green jersey. In the points classification, cyclists got points for finishing among the best in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints. The cyclist with the most points lead the classification, and was identified with a green jersey.[10]

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.[10]

The fourth individual classification was the young rider classification, which was not marked by a jersey in 1991. This was decided the same way as the general classification, but only riders under 26 years were eligible.[10]

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.[11]

General classification[edit]

Final general classification (1–10)[3]
Rank Name Team Time
1  Miguel Indurain (ESP) Banesto 101h 01' 20"
2  Gianni Bugno (ITA) Gatorade-Chateau d'Ax +3' 36"
3  Claudio Chiappucci (ITA) Carrera +5' 56"
4  Charly Mottet (FRA) RMO +7' 37"
5  Luc Leblanc (FRA) Castorama +10' 10"
6  Laurent Fignon (FRA) Castorama +11' 27"
7  Greg LeMond (USA) Z +13' 13"
8  Andrew Hampsten (USA) Motorola +13' 40"
9  Pedro Delgado (ESP) Banesto +20' 10"
10  Gerard Rué (FRA) Helvetia +20' 13"

Points classification[edit]

Final points classification (1–10)[12][13]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (URS) Carrera 316
2  Laurent Jalabert (FRA) Toshiba 263
3  Olaf Ludwig (GER) Panasonic 175
4  Jean-Claude Colotti (FRA) Tonton Tapis-Corona 159
5  Andreas Kappes (GER) Histor 151
6  Etienne De Wilde (BEL) Histor 143
7  Greg LeMond (USA) Z 139
8  Maurizio Fondriest (ITA) Panasonic 130
9  Phil Anderson (AUS) Motorola 127
10  Dmitri Konychev (URS) TVM 107

Mountains classification[edit]

Final mountains classification (1–10)[12][13]
Rank Name Team Points
1  Claudio Chiappucci (ITA) Carrera 312
2  Thierry Claveyrolat (FRA) RMO 277
3  Luc Leblanc (FRA) Castorama 164
4  Gianni Bugno (ITA) Gatorade-Chateau d'Ax 157
5  Miguel Indurain (ESP) Banesto 141
6  Andrew Hampsten (USA) Motorola 128
7  Charly Mottet (FRA) RMO 122
8  Pascal Richard (SUI) Helvetia 118
9  Roberto Conti (ITA) Ariostea 110
10  Peter De Clercq (BEL) Lotto 88

Team classification[edit]

Final team classification (1–10)[13][14]
Rank Team Time
1 Banesto 303h 28' 50"
2 Castorama +25' 44"
3 RMO +50' 25"
4 Z +57' 29"
5 Postobón +1h 09' 45"
6 Helvetia +1h 11' 19"
7 ONCE +1h 27' 50"
8 Amaya +1h 38' 24"
9 Toshiba +1h 40' 08"
10 Carrera +1h 51' 27"

Young rider classification[edit]

Final young rider classification (1–5)[13]
Rank Name Team
1  Alvaro Mejia (COL) Ryalcao
2  Gerrit de Vries (NED) Buckler
3  Dominik Krieger (GER) Helvetia
4  Laurent Jalabert (FRA) Toshiba
5  Dimitri Zhdanov (URS) Panasonic


  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. ^ See, Jen (2012), "Analysis: What Do Those Yellow Helmets Mean?", Bicycling.com, Rodale, retrieved 1 April 2013 
  3. ^ a b c "78ème Tour de France 1991" (in French). Memoire du cyclisme. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Ploegen Post en Priem in wachtkamer voor Tour". Nieuwsblad voor het Noorden (in Dutch). Koninklijke Bibliotheek. 23 May 1991. p. 11. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Dhaenens,Theunisse,Roche et Fignon seront au départ de Lyon le 6 Juillet : Le TOur de France a choisi ses équipes" (in French). Le Soir. 19 June 1991. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l McGann, Bill; McGann, Carol (2008). The Story of the Tour de France: 1965-2007. Dog Ear Publishing. pp. 198–203. ISBN 1-59858-608-4. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Boyce, Barry (2012). "The Arrival of the Indurain Era". Cycling revealed. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Zwegers, Arian. "Tour de France GC Top Ten". CVCC. Archived from the original on 2009-06-10. Retrieved 15 Aug 2011. 
  9. ^ "Sörensen stapt af". Leidsche Courant (in Dutch). Regionaal archief Leiden. 11 July 1991. p. 1. 
  10. ^ a b c d Christian, Sarah (2 July 2009). "Tour de France demystified - Evaluating success". RoadCycling.co.nz Ltd. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Chauner, David; Halstead, Michael (1990). The Tour de France Complete Book of Cycling. Villard. ISBN 0679729364. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "De Tour in cijfers". Leidsch Dagblad (in Dutch). Regionaal Archief Leiden. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Championnats de Belgique des Jeunes a Seraing". Le Soir (in French). 29 July 1991. p. 23. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "Tour 1991 classificaciones". El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 29 July 1991. p. 17. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 

External links[edit]

Media related to 1991 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons