Lauren Fignon’s career was to became defined by the 1989 TdF, the one he lost by eight seconds to Greg Lemond. But his career (and life) should be celebrated for the performances he delivered during and especially at the start of it, including his 1984 destruction of four-times Tour winner, Bernard Hinault.
He burst onto the pro circuit in 1982, leading the Giro for a period before winning his first Tour de France aged just 22, in 1983. That year, the overall favourite Bernard Hinault had been missing due to injury and so 1984 was set to be a battle royal between the two Frenchmen.
It was a massacre.
Fignon was to beat Hinault by a massive ten minutes, winning five stages along the way. On Stage 17, a clearly panicked Hinault attacked Fignon five times on the penultimate climb (Col d’Ornon) before they reached Alpe D’Huez, where Fignon simply rode away putting another three minutes into his older rival. Following this second win, Fignon was expected to win several more Tours. Injuries and a certain time-trial on the Champ Elysees prevented this from happening.