1 Sep 2010

Cycling great dies of cancer

7:10 am on 1 September 2010

The Tour de France cycling great Laurent Fignon has died of cancer aged 50.

Fignon won two Toyurs in 1983 and 84, but trhe eight seconds that cost him a third triumph in 1989 will live just as long as the memory as the Americ an Greg Lemond produced one of the greatest time trials in history.

In a book published in June 2009, 'We Were Young and Carefree', Fignon said he had been diagnosed with cancer.

He also admitted having used doping products but said he did not know if they had caused his illness.

Fignon's sport was soccer until he rode his first cycle race in 1976 and won it.

He turned professional in 1982, winning his first trophy the same year, the Criterium National.

In 1983 at the age of 22, with his round glasses and ponytail, Fignon became the youngest rider for 50 years to win the Tour de France after taking advantage of the withdrawal through injury of Bernard Hinault who had won the race four times.

The young champion won again in 1984, earning the nickname 'The Teacher' for his tactical skills.

Injuries marred the end of his career but he also won the Giro d'Italia in 1989, the Fleche Wallonne in 1986 and the Milan-San Remo classic in 1988 and 1989.

Fignon retired from cycling in 1993 and soon became a television consultant.