'In 1986, I was the first American to win the Tour de France. In 1987, my life was nearly ended in a hunting accident. I was 15 minutes from death. But I came back to life and went on to win the Tour twice more, in 1989 and 1990. This is my story.'Greg LeMond, three times winner of the Tour de France, twice winner of the World Championship, was the finest cyclist of his generation and one of the all-time greats. In his quest for speed and perfect performance, he showed extraordinary determination. Yet few thought he could come back from the shooting that left him so close to death - least of all his own team. They could not have been more wrong. Two years later, with his body still full of birdshot, LeMond won the Tour again -in the most closely contested race of the event's history. Yet LeMond was more than merely a supreme athlete: he was a great innovator - the first cyclist to negotiate a million-dollar contract, to employ a scientific approach to training, and to exploit aerodynamic bike design. As an American individualist coming to a European tradition, he often stirred things up. If his candour and occasional combativeness did not always endear him to officials and team managers, they made him a firm favourite with fans. But LeMond's triumphs came at a cost. The hard years on the road took their toll on his family; he fell out with his father and had to sack him as his business manager. He fell out of love, too, with the sport that had been his life's passion, and his strength began to fail, he faced disillusion and depression. The greatest challenge of his career was to survive these defeats and forge a life after pro cycling. On a bike, LeMond was almost superhuman; but the story he has to tell - of battling adversity and finding the will to go on - is simply and inspiringly a human one.
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