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Inside Cycling with John Wilcockson: Greg LeMond
"I've always felt, tactically, that I was a fairly smart rider. Everything's timing, and you've got to be feeling good for that one moment when it's gonna make the difference."

Those words could well have been spoken by Tom Boonen, who timed his effort so perfectly at last week's world road championships in Madrid that the first time he was seen at the front of the race was when he crossed the line as the winner. But it wasn't Boonen talking about his rainbow-jersey victory in 2005, but Greg LeMond after winning the world's in 1983.

LeMond seemed destined to become the first American to win cycling's supreme title ever since he won the world junior title in 1979. And, of course, winning the pro world's by the time he was 22 was on that list of "yellow legal pad" ambitions LeMond set down as a high-schooler. But there's a chasm between wanting to achieve a goal that lofty and actually doing it.

As I wrote last week, LeMond came into the 1983 world pro road championship as one of the favorites, even though he had no real team to back him up. That hadn't stopped him from taking the silver medal behind Italian Giuseppe Saronni the previous year, while his stock had greatly increased in the 12 months since that performance with overall victories at the Tour de l'Avenir and Dauphiné Libéré, and a fourth place in the Tour of Switzerland.

LeMond was pro cycling's newest phenomenon, though the Europeans were unsure how to regard him and the new wave of English-speaking riders represented by the Australians Phil Anderson and Allan Peiper, Irishmen Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche, Brits Robert Millar and Sean Yates, and the "other" American, Jonathan Boyer.

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