American Greg LeMond, captain of the La Vie Claire team, placed fourth in the 69th Giro d’Italia, behind winner Robert Visentini, Giuseppe Saronni, and Francesco Moser. LeMond’s teammates Steve Bauer and Roy Knickman, the only other North Americans to enter the race, placed 45th and 72nd, respectively. The 22-stage race ended June 2.
This was the first Giro victory for Visentini (Carrera), who work the pink leader’s jersey for the last seven stages and celebrated his 29th birthday on the race’s final day. Saronni (Del Tongo-Colnago) won the Giro in ’79 and ’83, and Moser won it in ’84. This marked the first year since 1969 that Italians took the top three places. It was the 52nd time in the race’s 69-year history that an Italian won.
LeMond was one of the favorites going into the Giro, which he rode for the first time in ’85. Even while working for teammate Bernhard Hinault that year, LeMond finished third overall behind Hinault and Moser. A major question this year was how America’s best pro would fare without Hinault at his side.
LeMond raced confidently and aggressively but was hampered by two things: a crash in the second stage during which he lost 1:38, and the lack of a well-rounded team.
La Vie Claire lost 1:41 in the 50km team time trial, which left LeMond in 44th place, down 3:24 at the end of the third stage.
LeMond came back to win Stage 5 and took second, fourth, and two fifths in other stages, but was unable to recover enough time to win. He finished 2:26 behind Visentini, 1:24 behind Saronni, and 12 seconds behind Moser.
Knickman raced consistently and Canadian Bauer was strong in the early stages but lost ground in the mountains. Bauer was sixth in three stages and rose as high as sixth in general classification.
Stay tuned for more cycling coverage!
Coming soon: the 1986 Tour de France route preview, Tour of Switzerland coverage, Team 7-Eleven’s expectations for le Tour, and more!