SI Vault
 
LESSON FROM A PRO
Alexander Wolff
May 21, 1990
An amateur led the Tour de Whozit until Raul Alcala played his trump
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 21, 1990

Lesson From A Pro

An amateur led the Tour de Whozit until Raul Alcala played his trump

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3

LeMond is a slow starter, and he didn't win last summer's Tour de France by front-running. Still, the months following that dramatic victory were filled with receptions, banquets and commercial commitments, and his new directeur sportif, Roger Legeay, concerned that LeMond isn't capable of saying no, is now saying it for him. LeMond calls his malaise "the Tour de France syndrome."

"Cycling is the most demanding sport in the world, and trying to do too many things is going to affect performance," he says. "I'm maybe 70 percent now. By the Tour of Italy I hope to be 80 or 85. By the Tour of Switzerland, 90. So I'll hit the Tour de France at 100."

Even with American cycling's biggest drawing card hiding out in team cars and dodging press conferences over the fortnight, the Tour was warmly received. It revisited communities (Allentown, Pa.; Winchester, Va.; Catskill, N.Y.) through which it had passed during its inaugural year, and built on the following already established. Despite the airing of assaultive commercials, a big-screen TV at the various finish lines gave a sense of continuity to the action in this most ephemeral of spectator sports. There was no huge organizational boner, as when last year's contender Eric Vanderaerden of Belgium was misdirected on the final time trial. Finally, Devil's Kitchen, though not exactly on the order of the Tour de France's storied l'Alpe d'Huez, has the stuff that race mythology is made of.

The biggest albatross is that name. "The name helped us get noticed," says Tour publicist Steve Brunner. "Now we're trying to get people to take us seriously as a bike race. Some people still think this is a Wrestlemania-type event."

It isn't. Nor is it, as Bobrik found out on Saturday in a big way, amateur hour. That became clear in Devil's Kitchen, when the pros finally played their trum...er...hole card.

1 2 3