Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Laurent Fignon Died

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Laurent Fignon, a Frenchman who has twice won the Tour de France, but who was defeated by his rival American Greg LeMond in one of the most electrifying editions of the race, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 50 years.

Fignon, who had worked as a television commentator for the state broadcaster France 2 television over the past five years, announced last June that he had advanced cancer in the digestive system and was undergoing chemotherapy. France 2 TV reported his death on Tuesday.

The titanic struggle between Fignon and LeMond in the 1989 Tour de France victory was the narrowest margin in history, eight seconds, the most famous cycling competition in the world.

"It was a great champion who used a combination of talent and desire to win the Tour de France twice," he said on Tuesday Lappartient AP David, president of the French Cycling Federation. "He had an iron will and was also a very intelligent man."

Laurent Fignon Center, a sports and activities in the Pyrenees, could not be reached for comment.

"He was quite a character, with and without the bike," said Marc Madiot, a former teammate of Fignon and Team Francaise des Jeux. "I take my hat off to him."

Born August 12, 1960, the blonde rider stood out in sports as a child and chose to ride a bike because his friends did - initially against the wishes of their parents, who did not like the fact that racing fans Sundays were the day devoted to family activities.

"It was a special man for me, for cycling and for France, Laurent, you will be missed," said Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France in a statement. The cyclist, who has battled cancer, Fignon called "dear brother" and a "legendary cyclist."

Nicolas Sarkozy, French president and cycling fan, said Fignon had been "an amazing and exceptional champion who left an indelible mark on the history of the Tour de France and French cycling."

Fignon won the Tour in his first attempt in 1983, just his second year as a pro, taking the opportunity presented by the absence of four-time winner and defending champion Bernard Hinault. He also won in 1984. (DIARIO LIBRE)


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