Thinking that this longest of Tour stages from Poitiers to Bordeaux was to be a hot, lazy, flat slog, many Tour journalists went 130km ahead to take advantage of a sumptuous Bastille Day buffet put out free by the rich brandy burghers of the French region of Cognac.
But, true to the pace of this year’s Tour, the pack was again ahead of the fastest possible schedule — this time by 25 minutes — and the buffet was abandoned, to the dismay of both its organizers and salivating beneficiaries.
Readers may find it amusing to learn that the peloton was ahead of the predicted pace because they were “racing it up” for a film crew shooting for the upcoming movie Yellow Jersey. As the film truck rolled through Cognac, there was none other than matinee idol Hinault five meters off the front and hammering for Hollywood. For the Tour’s most glamorous rider, it was highly appropriate.
A strong tailwind spurred numerous attacks in the last hour of racing. The Hitachi team knew that to win a stage, they would have to force a breakaway, which was what team leader Claude Criquielion did on a small hill with 15km to go.
A 13-man group gave chase, carrying second-place Paris-Roubaix finisher Rudy Dhaenens.
Realizing that breakaway companion Matthew Hermans was the best sprinter in the bunch, Dhaenens attacked in a corner just as the group arrive on the 4km finishing circuit. Criquielion took the group wide through the turn, and before the others realized what had happened, Dhaenens had 40 meters. Going into time trial mode, he held off Hermans to take what is considered the most prestigious flat stage of this year’s Tour.
GC: no change
Watch Dhaenens sneak attack for Hitachi’s first win of the race:
Today’s race coverage brought to you by The Race for the Yellow Jersey.
Please join us tomorrow morning for continued coverage of the 1986 Tour de France.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this passage from Slaying the Badger by Richard Moore!
During the 2012 Tour de France, VeloPress traveled back through time to replay the 1986 Tour de France one stage at a time. Each morning of the 2012 Tour, VeloPress published a “stage report” with results from the 1986 Tour, which were passages from Richard Moore’s award-winning book Slaying the Badger and supplemented with articles and advertisements from the archives of Velo-news magazine and with race videos from YouTube. VeloPress is pleased to archive these passages from Slaying the Badger, which is an incomparably detailed and highly revealing tale of cycling’s most extraordinary rivalry between the young American Greg LeMond and his teammate, the legendary French rider Bernard Hinault.