At Interbike last month, I crowded into the LOOK Cycles booth to get a glimpse of America’s 1st Tour winner, Greg Lemond. It’s been 25 years since Lemond rode a LOOK bicycle to that historic victory, and the company invited Greg to give him a bicycle to commemorate the event. In this day, it’s easy to forget how much the world of professional cycling changed with Lemond, and how equipment changed with LOOK. The Lemond era saw a transition from cycling being a blue-collar job to being a scientifically calibrated profession. Likewise, LOOK ushered in the carbon fibre bicycle and the clipless pedal.
After a few stories about the genius of Cyrille Guimard, racing against Fignon, and Greg’s enthusiasm for cycling with his son, I had a chance to ask him if he thought that his epoch-making use of “triathlon bars” in the amazing final stage of the 1989 TdF would have been possible in the current environment of UCI technical direction. Greg Lemond just sorta looked at me for a moment, shrugged his shoulders, and said, “Uh….no.”
He brilliantly summed up his thoughts by saying that he understood that the sporting aspect of the athlete’s effort and ability should be important, but “if we cyclists didn’t like equipment….we’d be runners.”