The 1996 Tour De France: Brilliant!

In preparation for this year's Tour, my friend Sandy lent me her video of the 1996 Tour. The winner is Bjarne Riis--current Director Sportiv of the CSC team. It is fantastic. For all of you cycling geeks, here are some of my favorite highlights of this video so far:

1. The Big Mig, Miguel Indurain, pops in his attempt to win a 6th Tour. He is a very large cyclist, compared to many. Very interesting to see him next to the smaller cyclists.

2. Bjarne Riis is the team leader for Telekom. This 1996 version of Deutsche Telekom has one very fast Erik Zabel in the green jersey and in his first Tour, a very young Jan Ullrich.

3. Johan Bruyneel, the current mastermind of the Postal/Lance/Discovery juggernaut, rides off the side of a mountain and reappears to be no worse for the wear. He is, however, about 40 pounds lighter than he is now as DS of Discovery--skinnier than heck!

4. "Big" Lance Armstrong (yes, Phil refers to him as big in this race) quits early in the first week of the race. He is riding, pre-cancer, at a weight of 170-something. Unbeknownst to anyone, he is riding riddled with tumors in his lungs. His whole persona is so different at this time. Very brash and arrogant, he is shown fighting--throwing punches--at another rider whom he believes caused a crash.

5. Georgie Hincapie crashes out. Laurent Jalabert, a personal favorite of mine, retires early as well.

6. The bikes look ancient. And in France, no helmets are required. Boo!

7. Cipollini wins ONE flat stage and then withdraws, in order to prepare for the '96 Olympic Games.

8. And last but not least, we see one of the best names in sport compete: The very handsome sprinter, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov. Great legs on the former Soviet racer.


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