One brief anecdote from the book. In the 1987 Vuelta, Fignon finished third to Colombia’s Luis Herrera. The first Colombian winner of a Grand Tour, it was a massive victory for South American cycling. But the Café de Colombia team seems to have been about more than the mere promotion of coffee.
Describing Herrera’s win, Fignon says “the Colombians were hysterical, they were handing out cocaine to anyone who wanted it by the packet! The team mechanics got them into Europe hidden inside bike frames“.
- It’s not the first time organised crime has been linked to a cycling team. I’d like to name a team from the 1990s but better not do so for health reasons. The team was genuine but one of the sponsors was a front for organised crime and used for money laundering.
EDIT: I was only half-joking about my health. If you want to find the name of the team in question, click here.