In a cycling world where helmets were never normal, but down tube shifters were, Greg Lemond became the very first American to win The Tour de France. Add to this fact that he did so without much help from his teammate, 5-time Tour winner Bernard Hinault. Despite promising LeMond that he would help him win because of all LeMond’s selfless work in 1986, Hinault lived up to his nickname, “The Badger” for one great reason: this honey-badger certainly didn’t care. Lemond wasn’t one to back down himself. Hence, one of the greatest years in Tour de France history.
If, like me, you were too young to remember 1986 (or maybe you didn’t even exist yet) you can catch up on all the history with “Slaying the Badger.” Relive the action of the 1986 Tour de France through the words and pedal strokes of Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault themselves. The episode airs for the first time July 22 on ESPN at 8pm (ET). If you miss the first airing, you’re in luck. It will also replay on ESPN 2 on July 26th at 1:30am (ET). Beyond that, I can’t help you.
Update!: You can now watch “Slaying the Badger” on YouTube in case you missed the live airings. Two full videos have popped up–one directly from ESPN that’ll cost you only $1.99, and another upload that may be short-lived. Here you go!
Of course, 90 or so minutes to bring you all the action of a 3-week race may not cut it for you. If that’s the case, check out Richard Moore’s book detailing the entirety of the 1986 battle. In Slaying the Badger: Greg LeMond, Bernard Hinault, and the Greatest Tour de France, you’ll get a way more in-depth view of exactly what went down that year. Plus, you’ll also be a little more prepared to deal with Tour withdrawals this year.
So what do you think about those sweet leather helmets in the peloton back then?