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|General manager||Bernard Tapie|
|Team name history|
La Vie Claire-Terraillon
La Vie Claire-Radar
Toshiba-La Vie Claire
La Vie Claire was a professional road bicycle racing team named after its chief sponsor La Vie Claire, a chain of health food stores.
The La Vie Claire team was created in 1984 by Bernard Tapie and directed by Paul Köechli. The team included five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault, and three-time winner, Greg LeMond, as well as Andrew Hampsten and the Canadian Steve Bauer. With Hinault winning the Tour in 1985, and LeMond winning in 1986, plus winning the team trophy both years, La Vie Claire cemented their place in cycling team history. The team formed after Bernard Hinault had a dispute with his former directeur sportif Cyrille Guimard of Renault-Elf-Gitane with whom Hinault had won four editions of the Tour de France. After Hinault's teammate Laurent Fignon won the 1983 Tour de France while Hinault was injured, Fignon became the designated leader of the team. Hinault formed the La Vie Claire team with Tapie and Koechli and steadily built up his form. During the 1984 Tour de France, Renault-Elf-Gitane dominated the race with 8 stage wins including the Team time trial as well as wearing the yellow jersey from the 5th stage onward with Vincent Barteau and Laurent Fignon.Fignon won the Tour by over ten minutes from Hinault. In addition with World Champion Greg LeMond the Renault team also finished third overall in that Tour and LeMond won the Young rider's jersey. After this dominance by the Renault-Elf-Gitane team, Tapie and Hinault approached Greg LeMond after the 1984 Tour with a one-million dollar contract offer - the first in cycling history - to leave Renault-Elf-Gitane and join Hinault at La Vie Claire. LeMond accepted and forever changed the salary structure in bicycle racing. With Hinault and LeMond the team won the 1985 and the 1986 Tour de France. At the end of 1986, Hinault retired and in the spring of 1987 LeMond was injured in a hunting accident. Hampsten who had finished fourth in the 1986 Tour de France and as best young rider left the team at the end of 1986. Jean-François Bernard was seen by some as a successor to Hinault in stage races and became the leader of the team. Bernard led the general classification during the 1987 Tour de France and finished third overall, and led the general classification during the 1988 Giro d'Italia but then never regained the form to perform in the grand tours for the team. The team itself was undergoing further changes - LeMond and Bauer left the team at the end of 1987 and Koechli and Tapie stopped directing the team in 1988 and 1989. During the latter years of the team, Laurent Jalabert and Tony Rominger were team leaders and earned success for the team.
The La Vie Claire colors (red, yellow, blue and gray) were based on the artwork of Piet Mondrian, giving them a unique appearance in the peloton during the 80s Tours de France. The La Vie Claire jersey, originally designed by Benetton, went through at least five major revisions between 1984-1988 as the team partnered different sponsors (Radar, Wonder, Toshiba, LOOK (and Red Zinger and Celestial Seasonings when racing on American soil)). The design (sleeves: yellow and grey; chest: pattern of rectangles in different sizes and colors) is considered one of the most memorable jersey designs in cycling. Manufactured by Santini of Italy, it is still very popular with cycling fans, topping a cyclingnews.com poll in 2018.From 1987, Toshiba became the main sponsor of the team and from 1988 onwards La Vie Claire withdrew their sponsorship. The jersey was redesigned in 1990. The Toshiba team continued until the end of the 1991 season.
Also strongly associated with La Vie Claire was the French company LOOK, which made the first clipless pedals, and which was owned by Tapie at that time.
La Vie Claire was among the first to use carbon fiber frames in the Tour de France. The team switched in 1986 from their previous supplier, Hinault, to carbon fiber frames and forks by TVT. In 1989 the team rode a carbon-fiber frame/fork manufactured by LOOK and fitted with titanium components. In the same year, the team began to use heart rate monitors in training and racing, a technology that the traditional training culture in cycling at first resisted.
In the 1985 Tour de France, Hinault was considered the leader of the team, which would work for him to win the Tour for a record-tying fifth time. But after dominating the first two-thirds of the race, on stage 14 Hinault crashed in Saint-Étienne and broke his nose. Though he continued, his injury and subsequent bronchitis caused him to be weakened thereafter.
On stage 17 LeMond and a rival rider, Stephen Roche, were far ahead of the pack when the team boss Bernard Tapie and coach Paul Koechli asked him to slow down, saying that Hinault was 45 seconds behind. LeMond refrained from attacking and waited at the stage's finish where he realized he'd been misled; Hinault was in fact more than three minutes behind. Hinault went on to win that year's Tour by 1 minute 42 seconds; in return for his assistance, LeMond was assured by Hinault that he would support LeMond the following year.
In the following year's Tour, Hinault surprised LeMond by riding an aggressive race, going on individual attacks, which he insisted was to deter and demoralize their mutual rivals. He claimed his tactics were to wear down LeMond's (and his) opponents and that he knew that LeMond would win because of time losses earlier in the race. However, LeMond saw this as a betrayal and accused Hinault of reneging on his promise. In LeMond's words, "He totally tried screwing me. But I don't blame him." As the 1986 Tour wore on, loyalties among LeMond and Hinault's teammates split along national lines, with the Americans and British supporting LeMond and the French and Belgians backing Hinault.[ citation needed ] Andrew Hampsten said of the 1986 Tour: "It was rotten being on the team... Steve Bauer and I had to chase down Hinault on the stage into Saint-Étienne. That really sucked." The competition, abandoned promises, and high stakes in the LeMond-Hinault controversy makes it one of the most public and bitter rivalries between teammates in cycling history. Their story was chronicled in the book Slaying the Badger by Richard Moore.
(1) Bryan Malessa, "Once Was King: An interview with Greg LeMond" http://www.roble.net/marquis/coaching/lemond98.html
(2) Andrew Hampsten: The Interview http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=1202
(3) Inside Cycling with John Wilcockson: Hinault takes a big early lead in dramatic '85 Tour [filed Nov. 28, 2005] https://web.archive.org/web/20070929083304/http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/9206.0.html
Gregory James "Greg" LeMond is an American former professional road racing cyclist, entrepreneur, and anti-doping advocate. A two-time winner of the Road Race World Championship and a three-time winner of the Tour de France, LeMond is considered by many to be the greatest American cyclist of all time.
Bernard Hinault is a French former professional cyclist. With 147 professional victories, including five in the Tour de France, he is often named among the greatest cyclists of all time.
Bernard Tapie is a French businessman, politician and occasional actor, singer, and TV host. He was Minister of City Affairs in the government of Pierre Bérégovoy.
Stephen Roche is an Irish former professional road racing cyclist. In a 13-year professional career, he peaked in 1987, becoming the second of only two cyclists to win the Triple Crown of victories in the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia general classification, plus the World road race championship, the first was Eddy Merckx. Roche's rise coincided with that of fellow Irishman Sean Kelly.
Miguel Induráin Larraya is a retired Spanish road racing cyclist. Induráin won five Tours de France from 1991 to 1995, the fourth, and last, to win five times, and the only five-time winner to achieve those victories consecutively.
Laurent Patrick Fignon was a French professional road bicycle racer who won the Tour de France in 1983 and 1984 and the Giro d'Italia in 1989. He is former FICP World No. 1 in 1989. He nearly captured the Tour de France for a third time in 1989 before being edged by Greg LeMond by 8 seconds, the closest margin ever to decide the Tour. Fignon won many classic races, including taking Milan–San Remo back-to-back in 1988 and 1989. He died from cancer in 2010.
The 1985 Tour de France was the 72nd edition of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. It took place between 28 June and 21 July 1985. The course ran over 4,109 km (2,553 mi) and consisted of 22 stages and a prologue. The race was won by Bernard Hinault, who equalled the record by Jacques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx of five overall victories. Second was Hinault's teammate Greg LeMond, ahead of Stephen Roche.
The 1986 Tour de France was a cycling race held in France, from 4 July to 27 July. It was the 73rd running of the Tour de France, one of cycling's Grand Tours. The Tour consisted of 23 stages, beginning with a prologue in Boulogne-Billancourt and concluded on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The race was organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation and was shown on television in 72 countries, with the total viewers estimated at one billion. Greg LeMond of La Vie Claire won the race, ahead of his teammate Bernard Hinault. It was the first victory for a rider from an English-speaking country. Urs Zimmermann finished third. Five-time Tour winner Hinault, who had won the year before, had publicly pledged to support LeMond for victory in 1986. Several attacks during the race cast doubt on the sincerity of his promise, leading to a rift between the two riders.
Crédit Agricole was a French professional cycling team managed by Roger Legeay. From 1997 to 2008, the team was sponsored by the French bank Crédit Agricole. Prior to 1997, the team was known as Vêtements Z-Peugeot (1987), Z-Peugeot (1988-89), Z (1990–92) and GAN (1993–96). In 1990, the team's leading cyclist, the American Greg LeMond, won the Tour de France. The team also won the team title at the Tour de France that year. Crédit Agricole announced that they would cease to sponsor the team after 2008, and the team was subsequently disbanded.
Andrew Hampsten is an American former professional road bicycle racer who won the 1988 Giro d'Italia and the Alpe d'Huez stage of the 1992 Tour de France. Between 1986-1994 he finished in the Top 10 of eight Grand Tours.
Philippa York is a Scottish journalist and former professional road racing cyclist.
Gitane is a French manufacturer of bicycles based in Machecoul, France; the name "Gitane" means gypsy woman. The brand was synonymous with French bicycle racing from the 1960s through the mid-1980s, sponsoring riders such as Jacques Anquetil (1963–1965), Lucien Van Impe (1974–1976), Bernard Hinault (1975–1983), Laurent Fignon (1982–1988), and Greg LeMond (1981–1984). It is owned by Grimaldi Industri AB.
Cyrille Guimard is a French former professional road racing cyclist who became a directeur sportif and then a television commentator. Three of his riders, Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, and Lucien Van Impe, won the Tour de France. Another protege of Guimard's, Greg LeMond, described him as "the best (coach) in the world" and "the best coach I ever had". He has been described by cycling journalist William Fotheringham as the greatest directeur sportif in the history of the Tour.
Marino Lejarreta Arrizabalaga is a retired Spanish professional road racing cyclist. His biggest victory was capturing the 1982 Vuelta a España, a Grand Tour stage race, and he is the inaugural and record three-time winner of the Clásica de San Sebastián, which is now considered a one-day classic. In 1989, Lejarreta captured the Volta a Catalunya repeating one of his first professional wins in 1980 at the same event.
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Clarence "Roy" Knickman is a former professional road bicycle racer from the United States, who won the bronze medal in the Men's Team Time Trial at the 1984 Summer Olympics. His winning teammates in Los Angeles, California were Ron Kiefel, Andrew Weaver, and Davis Phinney.
The 1985 Giro d'Italia was the 68th running of the Giro d'Italia, one of cycling's Grand Tours races. The Giro started in Palermo, on 16 May, with a 6.6 km (4.1 mi) prologue and concluded in Lucca, on 9 June, with a 48 km (29.8 mi) individual time trial. A total of 180 riders from twenty teams entered the 22-stage race, that was won by Frenchman Bernard Hinault of the La Vie Claire team. The second and third places were taken by Italian Francesco Moser and American Greg LeMond, respectively.
Jean-François Bernard is a former French professional road bicycle racer.
Renault was a French professional cycling team that existed from 1978 to 1985. The team cycled on and promoted Gitane racing bikes.