Indurain dreams of Olympics dream
Robin Nicholl on a target for yesterday's historic winner in the Tour de France
Monday 24 July 1995
His victory by four minutes and 35 seconds over Switzerland's Alex Zulle after 3,635 kilometres, 25 mountains, and 21 days set the Spanish flags waving and drums beating to chants of "Indu-rain, Indu-rain."
As only the fourth to win five Tours, Indurain refuses to think about No 6 for now. His declared ambitions are winning the Tour of Spain and the World Road Race Championship.
The farmer's son from Navarre has made the Tour his kingdom. His other significant successes are two Tours of Italy, the San Sebastian Classic, the world hour record, and silver and bronze medals in the World Road Race Championship.
Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault have also won five. Belgian Merckx managed his run in six years, but Anquetil and Hinault needed eight years to join the club.
Revered by thousands, the shy Indurain does not want to be seen as an idol. "I appreciate the image I represent, but I want to be dignified about it.
"My real dream is to be Olympic champion. I have great memories of the Los Angeles Olympics when I was in the Spanish team. Now professionals can race in Atlanta I have a chance.
"I made the Tour my priority, but I want to go for classics, too. I almost won Liege-Bastogne-Liege this year. It is one I would like to win, and so, too, is the Milan-San Remo classic.
"It is much too early to think about another Tour. I want to enjoy this victory and take a rest, because my season is far from finished. The world hour record is a possibility. Tony Rominger's record was such an outstanding performance, I must study my form and training very closely to see if it is worth my trying to beat it."
Rominger was the man the pre-race forecasts gave as Indurain's biggest threat. Instead it was another Swiss, Zulle, who with the Dane, Bjarne Riis, maintained a challenge to the finish.
"I was surprised by Zulle and Laurent Jalabert, and Riis too," Indurain said. "Rominger and Evgeny Berzin were disappointing. Rominger is a great rider but he lacked consistency in this Tour.
"I dictated a little in the Belgian stages, I won two time-trials, and in the mountains I tried to be among the top three each day. That is how you win a Tour."
Simply put, but Indurain is a physiological powerhouse. He has been described as "extra-terrestrial", but his manager, Jose Miguel Echavarri, believes the secret is his extra long thigh bones.
"His legs provide more power than most riders can generate," Echavarri said. Then there is also those lungs with a capacity of 14 pints, double the average for his age, and a heartbeat of 28 to 34 per minute against the normal 70.
His team, aptly sponsored by banking concern Banesto, share Indurain's loot. That is tradition. Indurain will make more in personal appearances and endorsements, but his favourite personal appearance appears to be the Paris podium.
Yesterday's 155 kilometres from Sainte Genevieve des Bois was his victory parade which finished with a crescendo on the Champs Elysees, and a last- gasp success for Djamolidine Abdoujaparov. After three weeks of trying he finally pinned down an elusive victory by taking the inevitable sprint finish.
After three green jerseys as most consistent finisher, he could not match the hunger of Jalabert. The Frenchman not only took the green jersey but was fourth overall, a year after breaking his jaw in a second-day crash on the Tour.
Chris Boardman, who crashed out two minutes after starting the Tour in Brittany was a reluctant spectator yesterday, and will remain so until October. Then he hopes his fractured ankle will be strong enough to attempt a few races.
It has been an Indurain triumph tinged with sadness following the death of the Olympic road race champion, Fabio Casartelli, who crashed on a mountain descent last week.
TOUR DE FRANCE Stage 20 (St Genevieve des Bois to Paris, 155km, 96 miles): 1 D Abdoujaparov (Uzbek) Novell 3hr 39min 46sec; 2 G M Fagnini (It) Mercatone Uno; 3 G Lombardi (It) Polti; 4 L Jalabert (Fr) ONCE; 5 M Sciandri (GB) MG Technogym; 6 E Zabel (Ger) Telekom-ZG; 7 S Colage (It) Telekom-ZG; 8 J Museeuw (Bel) Mapei GB; 9 G Fidanza (It) Polti; 10 F Andreu (US) Motorola; 11 A Ferrigato (It) Telkom-ZG; 12 J Skibby (Den) TVM; 13 B Hamburger (Den) TVM; 14 G Gorini (It) AKI Gipiemme; 15 F Simon (Fr) Castorama; 16 L Brochard (Fr) Festina; 17 T Marie (Fr) Castorama; 18 Y Ledanois (Fr) GAN; 19 M Bettin (It) AKI Gipiemme; 20 M Siboni (It) Carrera all same time.
Final leading overall standings: 1 M Indurain (Sp) Banesto 92hr 44min 59sec; 2 A Zulle (Swit) ONCE +4min 35sec; 3 B Riis (Den) Gewiss-Ballan +6:47; 4 Jalabert +8:24; 5 I Gotti (It) Gewiss-Ballan +11:33; 6 M Mauri (Sp) ONCE +15:20; 7 F Escartin (Sp) Mapei GB +15:49; 8 T Rominger (Swit) Mapei GB +16:46; 9 R Virenque (Fr) Festina +17:31; 10 H Buenahora (Col) Kelme +18:50; 11 C Chiappucci (It) Carrera +18:55; 12 L Madouas (Fr) Castorama +20:37; 13 M Pantani (It) Carrera +26:20; 14 P Lanfranchi (It) Brescialat +29:41; 15 B Cenghialta (It) Gewiss Ballan +29:55; 16 A Mejia (Col) Motorola +33:40; 17 Hamburger +34:49; 18 V Ekimov (Rus) Novell +39:51; 19 L Dufaux (Swit) Festina +45:55; 20 E Breukink (Neth) ONCE +47:27. Selected: 47 Sciandri +1:55:10.
Points classification (green jersey): 1 Jalabert 333pts; 2 Abdoujaparov 271; 3 Indurain 180. King of the Mountains (red polka dot jersey): 1 Virenque 438pts; 2 Chiappucci 210; 3 Zulle 205. Overall team standings: 1 ONCE 278hr 29min 35sec; 2 Gewiss-Ballan +13:23; 3 Mapei GB 55:53.
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