His last victory in the Tour dates back 30 years. Triple winner of the Tour in 1986, 1989 and 1990, Greg LeMond, 59, is part of the legend of the Tour that he follows every day from the United States. He tells us what the new generation inspires him, the duel of the Slovenes and the disappointment of the French.
Are you following the Tour de France?
GREG LEMOND. Every day on TV. I still adore this race as much and I must say very sincerely in passing that I miss France.
How do you find him ?
Very exciting and interesting. I know that for you French, the feeling is different: it is disappointing. Yet it’s a very good Tour … if you’re not French. We are discovering a generation of young runners who will mark cycling. It is one of the best Tours of recent years.
Is it followed in the United States?
Absolutely, but to be of interest to a country, you have to have runners who can win. In the United States, we have Sepp Kuss, Roglic’s teammate, who pleasantly surprises me. Above all, we see a lot of good runners arriving who will soon be able to claim great ambitions, believe me.
Do you like this young generation?
Bernal, Pogacar, Hirschi… We have the chance to discover great talents and we should be delighted. This does not happen every year. When you are able to win the Tour at only 21, it means that you are gifted, that you have something great in yourself.
Isn’t Slovenian domination boring?
It’s great to see riders from such a small country able to dominate the Tour de France, isn’t it? I see a lot of things that make me happy.
Does the domination of the Jumbo Visma remind you of that of the US Postal of Armstrong or of Ineos?
It is very different. In their day, these teams controlled everything from start to finish, leaving nothing to the others. Not the Jumbo which especially have the best riders of the peloton. Their domination, contrary to what we see, is not so hegemonic as that of the previous teams. And I prefer that.
Is the bankruptcy of the Ineos a surprise?
The mistake of this team is not to have taken Froome or Thomas. Betting everything on one leader is not a good thing.
We start to wonder about the performance of the best: is this normal?
It’s always normal to doubt and wonder. It’s even healthy. I can’t be faulted for not having done it when I had to. Frankly, I see things that tell me it’s going in the right direction.
I see runners who do not ride all day, stay safe and who are not in front all the time as at a certain time, without ever giving up. On arrival, they seem really tired, that’s a good sign. The cyclists’ pedaling pace also seems more normal to me: the guys are really hurting themselves. Regarding speed, I don’t see any illogical things either. I’m not saying all is well but I see a lot of encouraging signs.
Are French runners so disappointing?
You don’t have to throw everything away: you have Guillaume Martin doing a good Tour, commensurate with his possibilities. Thibaut Pinot has a lot of talents but no luck. Alaphilippe made a success of his Tour at the start. You have runners, don’t doubt it. Do you have any to win the Tour? That’s another story.
Will Pinot win it one day?
Why not? Without his fall in Nice, anything was possible. To get there, he will need optimal preparation, a very strong team with him. He will have to be at 110 or 120% of his possibilities and his opponents a little below theirs. Be patient. I know that in France you have been involved in this area for a long time.
What is the problem with French cycling?
I see what is being done in the United States. In college competitions, we have tens of thousands of young people mountain biking. It’s an excellent school and when you have such a rich pool, you have to come out of the champions. Perhaps better adapted programs are needed to privilege sport and in particular cycling at school.
Who will win the Tour?
Roglic deserves to win but I really like Pogacar and his attacking panache. He will gain more later.