Armstrong was the real deal in 1993.

As it is a wet and windy day I turned to my stack of old video tapes for my cycling entertainment. I found a tape from 1993 of a very nice win in de Ronde by Johan Museeuw. On the same tape was that year’s Milan-San Remo, not a favourite race but worth a look. The winner was Maurizio Fondriest who clipped off over the top of the Poggio and won alone.

What impressed me though was not Fondriest, who as a former world champion could be expected to shine, but Lance Armstrong who was very active in the finale. At the time Armstrong was just 21 years old and had little experience of racing at the top level. The Texan launched a massive attack over the top of the Cipressa with 270km covered but he was pulled back yet he was still active in the chase of Fondriest. There was a massive crash when the chasing group, sprinting seconds after the winner, hit the back of the official car that had stopped just after the line!

Given this demonstration of Armstrong’s ability perhaps I shouldn’t have been too surprised when he snatched the world title from hot favourite Museeuw later in the year to become the youngest ever pro champion.


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