Ludwig, Riis, Indurain, Armstrong. Questionable names now, but a brilliant race then.
Buried under seven Tour de France titles he hasn’t won, and behind a story only part true, Lance Armstrong used to be a world champion with enough talent to scare some of the best riders in the world. At twenty-one years old, riding for Motorola, the Texan stormed away to a win with some of the best riders in the world chasing. He outsmarted Indurain and out motored Bjarne Riise, winning the US National Championship and the World Championship in the same season.
Though noted as a bad time trialist by one Phil Liggett, who would later be one of his last supporters, you could see the talent in the legs and the determination in the eyes of Lance Armstrong. In the rain of Oslo, Norway, he popped up from a crash to attack, with other riders letting him go in the hopes of forcing Indurain and the other big names to chase and tire themselves out. It didn’t work.
It’s fascinating now to watch all the praise lathering on Armstrong and to know just how true it would become, and how completely false.